The Small-Business Optimism Index lost a point in July for a reading of 88.2. It marks one of the longest strings of recession-level readings in the survey’s history. A major cause: weaker capital spending plans, the lowest since 1975. Other negative contributors were low earnings, fewer job openings and lower inventory satisfaction. On the upside, business owners have expectations for better business conditions, real sales and expansion.

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92.9
 
89.6
 
91.5
 
89.3
 
89.2
 
88.2
Feb.
 
Mar.
 
Apr.
 
May
 
June
 
July

SOURCE: NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS