NEW YORK (AP) — After two months of rosier outlooks, small business owners grew gloomy in June about the strength of their sales, according to a survey released Tuesday by the National Federation of Independent Business.
The NFIB's index of small business optimism fell just under a point to 93.5 after rising in April and May. The index was compiled from a survey of 662 NFIB members.
Twenty percent of owners in the NFIB survey called taxes and regulation their biggest problems. That was followed closely by weak sales, as fewer owners reported sales gains. Owners in a number of surveys have cited weak sales as a reason why they have no plans to hire or expand.
"Economic growth was revised down for the first quarter of the year and the outlook for the second quarter is not looking good," said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. "Nothing cheers up a small-business owner more than a customer, and they remain scarce and cautious while consumer spending remains weak and more owners are reporting negative sales trends than positive ones."
However, the NFIB's latest survey is at odds with polls taken earlier in the spring by companies including the bankers Citigroup Inc. and Capital One Financial Corp. It's unclear whether the NFIB's June survey reflects only the feelings of the group's members or shows a shift among the broader population of small business owners.