The Small Business Optimism Index slipped for the month of December, following consecutive gains the previous two months, according to the new report from the National Federation of Independent Business. The index fell by 0.6 to 92.6, which was a disappointing showing for analysts who anticipated that another third straight monthly rise could represent strength in small business hiring. Instead, analysts were left with mixed results that show small businesses expect to slightly increase hiring and project improving retail sales. However, those expectations were muted by entrepreneurs who expected credit conditions and expansion to slip. That could affect credit decisions as entrepreneurs remain vigilant of their business credit reports. “Apparently, the ‘management change’ in Washington and marginally better retail sales numbers weren’t enough to pump up spirits at the New Year celebrations,” the NFIB said. Job creation remained at a near standstill. The hiring index fell by 0.07 employees per company after the ledger made a minuscule gain of 0.01 in November and remained level at 0.0 in October. Currently, 91 percent of small business owners say their credit needs are being met, while 50 percent said they were not interested in taking out a loan - a 3 percent decrease from November.