Business confidence took another tumble in the past month.
The National Bank Business confidence survey has now fallen every month after hitting a decade-high in February this year.
Optimists still outnumbered pessimists, with a net 16% still expecting business conditions to improve in the year ahead.
That is in line with the survey's historical average, but well down on the net 34% peak in February this year.
Firms were more optimistic about their own futures, with a net 26% expecting better times ahead, down six points.
Export firms bucked the trend, with 31% more confident than pessimistic, up from 28% in July.
Overall, fewer firms expected to hire more workers, earn more or invest more compared with the previous month.