The National Federation of Independent Business says owners it surveyed last month expect their companies' sales and overall business conditions to pick up after the election and the end of the year.
That brighter outlook helped lift the NFIB's small business optimism index by 1.7 point in August to 92.9. The NFIB, which lobbies on behalf of small business owners, compiled the index from its survey of 736 of its members.
Many business owners have refrained from hiring or expanding their companies not only because of the economy, but also because of the uncertainty over the presidential election.
But the number of owners who said they expect to create new jobs rose 5 percentage points from July to 10 percent. While the reading is low, the increase was significant.
The number of owners expecting their sales to improve also rose 5 percentage points to 1 percent, erasing a negative reading in July but still weak. The number of owners who expect business conditions to improve in six months rose 6 percentage points, although that reading remained negative at 2 percent.
Nearly a quarter of the owners, 24 percent, said they plan to make capital expenditures in the next three to six months, up 3 percentage points. Capital expenditures include purchases such as vehicles, equipment and real estate and also include improving or expanding buildings and facilities.