Small business confidence sets record level

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said 2017 represented a banner year for small business confidence.

The NFIB’s Index of Small Business Optimism showed 2017 served as the strongest in the history of the survey, with the average monthly Index being 104.8. The previous record was 104.6, set in 2004.

“Last year was the most remarkable year in the 45-year history of the NFIB Optimism Index,” NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan said. “With a massive tax cut this year, accompanied by significant regulatory relief, we expect very strong growth, millions more jobs, and higher pay for Americans.”

Driving record optimism in 2017, officials said, was the expectation of better economic policies from Washington while suspending business regulations and a tax cut answered two of the three top concerns for small business owners.

“We’ve been doing this research for nearly half a century, longer than anyone else, and I’ve never seen anything like 2017,” NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said. “The 2016 election was like a dam breaking. Small business owners were waiting for better policies from Washington, suddenly they got them, and the engine of the economy roared back to life.”

Duggan said there is evidence small business owners pay close attention to Washington and federal policies affect decisions on whether to hire, invest, grow inventory, and seek capital.