By Kimberly Chin


Small-business owners' confidence in the U.S. economy declined in December, though owners benefited from strong consumer spending as well as federal tax and regulatory relief, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index's December reading was 102.7, down two points from the prior month.

The NFIB survey is a monthly snapshot of small businesses in the U.S., which account for nearly half of private-sector jobs. Economists look to the report for a read on domestic demand and to extrapolate hiring and wage trends in the broader economy.

The NFIB survey results--based on responses from 488 small-business owners--showed that owners who plan to create new jobs fell by two points to 19% in December from a month earlier.

The Uncertainty Index rose eight points to 80, although fears of a possible economic recession have subsided and noise around impeachment have had little effect on sentiment, the NFIB said.

Around 29% of small business owners said they had raised compensation in December, down by one point. Still, 24% of participants said they planned to do so in the months ahead.

Owners expecting better business conditions in the coming months notched three points higher to 16%.

Around 9% of small-business owners reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, three points above the average 2019 reading, the NFIB said. Owners also had a bit more certainty about future sales growth.


Write to Kimberly Chin at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 14, 2020 06:14 ET (11:14 GMT)

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