Small-business sentiment slipped in January on a decline in optimism over sales growth and business conditions, according to a gauge released Tuesday. The National Federation of Independent Business said its small-business optimism index fell 2.5 points to 97.9, with seven out of 10 components declining. "November and December readings were very strong, possibly from post-election euphoria," said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg in a statement. "January's decline was mostly due to owners being less optimistic about sales growth and business conditions, not spending and hiring plans." Ahead of the Labor Department's job-openings data, the index measuring whether job openings were hard to fill rose 1 percentage point to 26%.
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