Small business owners are more optimistic than ever about the economy, thanks to tax reform. The NFIB Small Business Economic Trends Survey optimism index hit a record high of 107.6 in February.
The historically high numbers include a jump in small business owners increasing capital outlays and raising compensation.
“When small business owners have confidence and certainty in the economy, they’re able to hire more workers and invest in their businesses,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “The historically high readings indicate that policy changes – lower taxes and fewer regulations – are transformative for small businesses. After years of standing on the sidelines and not benefiting from the so-called recovery, Main Street is on fire again.”
For the first time since 2006, taxes received the fewest votes as the No. 1 business problem for small business. When it comes to small business’ challenges, owners said that finding qualified workers was their biggest problem. In the past two years, small business owners had voted taxes and regulations as their biggest hurdles.
Other highlights of the survey include: a net 22% of owners are planning to raise worker compensation and 66% reported capital outlays, up five points from January and the highest reading since 2004.
“Small business owners are telling us loud and clear that they’re optimistic, ready to hire, and prepared to raise wages – it’s one of the strongest readings I’ve seen in the 45-year history of the Index,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg.