Small business owners’ optimism fell in June, as did hiring plans, according to the National Federation of Independent Business' monthly Small Business Optimism index published Tuesday.

The index slipped to 103.6 from 104.5 in May.

"Small business optimism dropped in response to the gridlock in the Senate over the healthcare reform bill," said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. "This happened in March, when optimism dipped after the House initially failed to repeal Obamacare. I hope every senator is paying attention, because small business owners are paying attention to them."

Despite remaining at historically high levels, indications of trouble exist, according to NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. "Fewer business owners expect business conditions to improve, and fewer expect sales to improve."

Large declines occurred in expectations for business conditions and sales. Indexes for job openings and job creation plans also dropped in June.

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