Small Business Confidence Was Higher Than Ever in 2017


2017 NFIB Small Business Optimism Index

The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) says small business confidence hit a record high in 2017.

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2017 NFIB Small Business Optimism Index

The NFIB recently released its Index of Small Business Optimism indicating how small business confidence blasted off after the 2016 election and remained in the stratosphere for all of 2017 because of “massive tax cuts and significant regulatory relief” as NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan puts it.

December’s 2017 optimism index was slightly lower than the near-record November report, coming in at 104.9, yet it was still a historically exceptional performance. According to NFIB, 2017 was a strong year in the history of its survey — one that has been conducted since the fourth quarter of 1973.

“We’ve been doing this research for nearly half a century, longer than anyone else, and I’ve never seen anything like 2017,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “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.”

As a result of the increased confidence, the report states that many small business owners were bedeviled by labor shortage in 2017. According to the report, 31 percent of business owners currently have positions open they are unable to fill — and the problem will become more intense if the optimism continues to grow.

“There’s a critical shortage of qualified workers and it’s becoming a real cost driver for small businesses,” said Dunkelberg. As a counter measure, many small business owners have been raising compensation for workers as means to attract and keep good employees. However this is “a positive indicator for the overall economy, ” Dunkelberg said. And also overall, it is clear that better policies often lead to better economic results.

Image: NFIB

4 Comments ▼

Antony Maina


Antony Maina Antony Maina is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. His beat includes social media, general business reporting and exploring how people relate to technology. With a background in freelance writing, he is a contributor to other tech websites and can be found at Word4Bloggers.

4 Reactions

  1. Crazy that there’s so much optimism, but still no confidence in credit conditions and earnings trends. Odd.

  2. Aira Bongco

    This is a good sign because it means that businesses are still motivated to succeed. This is healthy so that the industry will continue to thrive.

  3. Optimism is good as long as it is fueled by action. Without action, optimism will soon die down.

  4. This shows that the small business industry has tons of hope for the upcoming year.

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