Small Business Optimism Ticked Higher in October

U.S. small business optimism rose in October as more owners said they planned to invest in their companies and were having a harder time filling job openings, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

The National Federation of Independent Business said its Small Business Optimism Index gained 0.8 point to 96.1.

Twenty-six percent of business owners said they planned capital outlays, which are investments in things like machinery and land. That was the second highest reading since early 2008, and a hopeful sign for the business spending outlook.

Also boosting the index, 24 percent of owners reported job openings they could not fill, up 3 percentage points from September.

"Historically, readings this high only occurred in periods of strong growth," NFIB economist William Dunkelberg said of the survey's labor readings.

Still, more business owners said their profits were falling, holding back bigger gains in the overall index. Six of the index's 10 components rose in the survey of 1,502 randomly selected small business owners.

(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Andrea Ricci)