By Paul Bedard
November 13, 2018
The record level of economic optimism among small businesses is continuing, and those firms trying to fill jobs is at a 45-year high, according to a new industry report.
The National Federation of Independent Businesses said the optimism has only been this high three times in the last 43 years and has consistently been high all year long.
“For two years, small business owners have expressed record levels of optimism and are proving to be a driving force in this rapidly growing economy,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita D. Duggan. “The October optimism index further validates that when small businesses get tax relief and are freed from regulatory shackles, they thrive and the whole economy prospers.”
This year’s level has floated between 104 and 108 and in October was 107.4.
In their report, NFIB said, “Overall, small businesses continue to support the 3 percent plus growth of the economy and add significant numbers of new workers to the employment pool. The percent of owners with one or more unfilled openings is at a 45 year record high level. Employment is growing faster than the population (210,000 per month this year to date), so the gains in jobs are being “fueled” in part by increased labor force participation. Consumer optimism is also running at near-record levels, supported by rising wages and plentiful job openings.”
In addition, companies are planning to expand and add inventory.
“Thanks to a number of factors, including the federal government’s loosening grip on the private sector, the U.S. regained the top spot in the World Economic Forum’s ranking as the most competitive country during the month of October. An unburdened small business sector is truly great for employment and the general economy,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “October’s report sets the stage for solid economic and employment growth in the fourth quarter, while inflation and interest rates remain historically tame. Small businesses are moving the economy forward.”