U.S. small business optimism edged higher in November—reversing an October drop—as manufacturers and professional services, including architects, doctors and lawyers, led modest gains in newly created Main Street jobs.
The National Federation of Independent Business said Tuesday that its small business optimism Index nudged up 0.9 of a point to 92.5 last month, up from 91.6 for October.
While the headline sentiment number notched up, the November data also suggested many small-business owners and consumers are only getting by more than five years after a deep recession. "People are more hopeful about the jobs picture, but there are some drags on that optimism," said small business owner J. Kelly Conklin.
For example, sales have not strengthened among smaller merchants, with a net negative 8 percent reporting positive sales trends, according to the NFIB report. More upstart entrepreneurs also are pessimistic and expect a weakening economy during the next six months, according to the report.
"There's wasn't a lot of hope expressed in the sentiment measures," NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg told CNBC. Bottom line: "Nobody is going to spend more than they need to keep up with things," Dunkelberg said.
(Read more: How Main Street responded to the govt shutdown)