According to numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) last week, there were almost 900,000 job openings in the leisure and hospitality industry as of the end of August, a reduction of almost 100,000 from the same time last year. That said however, there was also other very good news on the average wage and unemployment fronts as well. Unemployment within hospitality dropped to 4.8 percent in September as the industry added 21,000 jobs and year-over-year hourly earnings rose by 3.7 percent, surpassing the broader earning growth of 2.9 percent. That jump in pay is the highest year-over-year increase in hourly earnings in decades! Notwithstanding the strength in the hospitality industry that these numbers portend, the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index dropped for the month of September to a reading of 101.8, down 1.3 points from the August level of 103.1. Approximately one-third of the owners in the survey however, are impacted negatively by tariffs. Along with the drop in optimism, 25% of respondents expected credit conditions to remain the same or tighten in the coming months.