The National Federation of Independent Business said their monthly Small Business Optimism Index rose nearly a point to 92.5.
"Of note is the positive trend, albeit sluggish reality, of job growth," the trade group said.
The monthly Optimism Index for November posed a reading of 9 percent for businesses with plans to increase employment, which is a 4-point gain from October.
Although the perception that it was a good time to expand was low at 9 percent, 23 percent indicated they had current job openings.
Twenty-four percent of small business owners responding to the survey indicated they had plans for capital outlays, which is money used to invest in the business. On net, however, small firms with plans to increase inventories was flat in the month, the index showed.
Expectations for an improved economy were low, a net negative of 20 percent, down 3 points from October.
"The year is not ending on a high note in the small-business sector of the economy. The 'bifurcation' continues with the stock market hitting record high levels, but the small-business sector is showing little growth beyond that driven by population growth," NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said in a statement.