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The National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Optimism Index dropped in January 3.2 points to 101.2, the lowest since 2016. According to analysts at Wells Fargo, the drop was likely owed to financial market volatility and the recent government shutdown.  

Key Quotes:  

“The 101.2 reading for January’s index is the lowest since before 2016’s election, but remains high compared to historical averages. Uncertainty arising from the shutdown clearly had an impact, as the NFIB Uncertainty Index rose seven points to 86.”

“Firms have become more guarded in their optimism for 2019.”

“Labor shortages remain a challenge, with 23% of firms reporting difficulty finding qualified labor as their top problem, a near record high.”

“Expectations for future improvements in economic growth and higher sales both substantially dropped in January. Plans to increase employment and inventories also slipped.”