Small business owners’ confidence in the U.S. economy fell for the fourth consecutive month in December and their outlook on business conditions fell to the lowest level since late 2016, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.
The NFIB’s optimism index, based on a survey of 621 business owners, fell 0.4 points in December from November’s 104.8 score. The index had set a record high of 108.8 in August.
The NFIB’s December survey results show that fewer respondents thought it was a good time to expand their business, and several cited economic conditions and the political climate as their reasoning.
State-specific data is unavailable, but NFIB State Director Dawn Starns says in a prepared statement that “some of our members say finding good applicants is one of the toughest challenges they’re facing heading into 2019.”