Small Business Optimism Spikes To A 34-Year High

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by: Bespoke Investment Group

There’s a big tide of optimism sweeping the nation’s small businesses. While individuals seem to hate the current GOP tax plan as much as they disliked Obamacare when it was first passed, small business owners are the most optimistic they have been since the early 1980s in the days of “Stranger Things.” In the most recent release yesterday, the NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index spiked from 103.8 up to 107.5. That was well ahead of consensus expectations and took out the post-2000 high of 107.4 from November 2004.

The NFIB (known to be politically biased towards the right) summed up the optimism pretty succinctly in the release earlier yesterday:

Not since the roaring Reagan economy has small business optimism been as high as it was in November, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Index of Small Business Optimism, released today.

“We haven’t seen this kind of optimism in 34 years, and we’ve seen it only once in the 44 years that NFIB has been conducting this research,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “Small business owners are exuberant about the economy, and they are ready to lead the U.S. economy in a period of robust growth.”

In each month’s report, respondents are asked what the number one problem is that they face in their business. Once again this month, Taxes is the number one problem facing small business owners, but that will likely start to abate once/if Congress passes their current tax reform package. Behind Taxes, business owners continue to have problems finding qualified candidates to fill job openings, but that doesn’t seem to be as big an issue as it was last month. Among specific industries, though, the NFIB reported that Labor Quality is the number one problem being faced by Construction and Manufacturing firms. Government Regulations were cited by 16% of small business owners as their number one problem, while just 11% see Poor Sales as the biggest issue they face.

Finally, the commentary section of this month’s report closed out with the optimistic forecast that “The NFIB indicators clearly anticipate further upticks in economic growth, perhaps pushing up toward 4 percent GDP growth for the fourth quarter.” 4% growth? Wouldn’t that be nice!