Small businesses feel less confident the economy will improve in the coming months, according to the latest monthly survey by the National Federation of Independent Business, Reuters reported.

 

The NFIB said today its Small Business Optimism Index fell 1.6 points to 95 last month. The index, often seen as a leading indicator for the economy, had risen for three straight months through May to its highest level since September 2007.

 

In June six of the index's 10 indicators decreased, with about half of the decline in the overall index due to less confidence in future business conditions, the report said.

 

The only two index components that increased in June were labor market indicators: the percent of owners with job openings and the percent planning to create new jobs in the coming months.

 

"While reports of actual net job creation per firm were positive, consumer and business owner optimism remain low, with both spending growth and sales expectations weak," NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg said in a release.

 

"This means there are more jobs but not much more output," Dunkelberg said. "With election day months away and no sign of change in Washington, economic growth for the rest of the year will continue to be sub-par.  The unemployment rate will fall more due to people leaving the labor force than to jobs being created and fewer hands making GDP."

 

U.S. economic data have given conflicting signs of health this year, with output falling sharply across the economy in the first quarter while hiring has looked much more robust. To view the full report, click here.