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US small business optimism unchanged in October

U.S. small business confidence was unchanged in October, with hiring stagnant even as more owners expected higher sales and more planned to make capital outlays, a survey released on Tuesday showed.

The National Federation of Independent Business said its Small Business Optimism Index was steady at 96.1 last month.

Small business
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"Although the labor market components posted minor declines, they held at historically strong levels, but this time owners reported no net growth in employment, a significant decline from reports in the previous four months," the NFIB said.

Four of the 10 components of the index, including the share of owners planning to make capital outlays in the next three to six months, edged up one point. The share of small businesses expecting higher real sales rose three points after having fallen six points in September.

Two components were unchanged while three fell, including the share of owners creating new jobs and those planning to increase inventories.

The U.S. government said last week payrolls outside the farm sector rose 271,000 in October, the largest increase in 10 months.

The NFIB report showed inflation pressures remained muted, with only a net 2 percent of owners raising their selling prices, up one point from September.

"This is bad news for the Federal Reserve which is trying to stoke the flames of inflation in order to prevent deflation from setting in. For the rest of us, low inflation is good news," the NFIB said.