Small business owner confidence in the U.S. economy deteriorated to its lowest in 28 years, according to a survey released Tuesday.
The National Federation of Independent Business said its index of small business optimism fell 2.2 points in May to 89.3, the lowest reading since 1980, when the index plunged as a recession hit.
"The current low readings, however, have not been accompanied by the declines in real spending and hiring as was the case in past recessions," said William Dunkelberg, NFIB's chief economist.
"Expectations are relatively more depressed in the current low index readings, thus an economy that is slow, but not experiencing negative growth," said Dunkelberg.
The weak economy does not seem to be helping on the inflation front, the group said. The number of owners citing inflation as their number one business problem is up 3 points to 17 percent, the highest reading since 1982.
The job market will also be weak, the NFIB said. Over the next three months, only 2 percent of the owners surveyed plan to create new jobs, down 3 points from April.