Dec. 12, 2006 -- A mix of weaker sales, fewer job openings, and higher wages drove down small-business optimism in November, the National Federation of Independent Business reported Tuesday.

The Washington-based lobby's monthly small-business optimism index slipped one point from October to 99.7, slightly below its benchmark level of 100, the report said.

Despite the declines, more owners said they planned to increase employment and expected higher sales in the months ahead, the report said.

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