Record number of small business owners say ‘now is a good time to expand’

BATON ROUGE – The Small Business Optimism Index jumped two points to 106.9 in January and set a record with the number of small business owners saying Now Is a Good Time to Expand, according to NFIB’s Small Business Economic Trends Survey, released today.

“Main Street is roaring,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “Small business owners are not only reporting better profits, but they’re also ready to grow and expand. The record level of enthusiasm for expansion follows a year of record-breaking optimism among small businesses.”

State-specific data is unavailable, but NFIB State Director Dawn Starns said the national trends are reflected here.

On the survey, “Now Is a Good Time to Expand” registered at 32 percent, the highest level in the history of the NFIB survey, which began in 1973. “Actual Earnings” climbed up 11 points from December, the highest level reported since 1988. “Plans to make Capital Outlays” jumped up two points, and “Plans to Increase Inventories” gained four points.

“The historically high index readings over the last year tell us small business owners have never been more positive about the economy,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “This is in large response to the new management in Washington tackling the biggest concerns of small business owners – high taxes and regulations.”

As small business owners struggle to find qualified workers for open positions, reports of higher worker compensation rose four percentage points to a net 31 percent, the highest reading since 2000 and among the highest in the 45 years of NFIB’s survey. Plans to raise compensation also rose one point to a net 24 percent, the highest reading since 1989.

“Finding qualified workers now exceeds taxes and regulations as the top concern for small businesses,” said Duggan.

Click here to view the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends Survey.