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Small Business Optimism Unexpectedly Rises, Hitting Second Highest Level Ever

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 24: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hugs the American flag as he arrives for a campaign rally at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on October 24, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. There are 14 days until the the presidential election. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

American small business owners are overwhelmingly optimistic.

The Small Business Optimism Index marked its second highest level in the survey’s 45-year history at 107.9, just below the July 1983 record-high of 108, the National Federation of Independent Business said Tuesday.

The index reading was expected to decline a notch from June’s 170.1. The rise to 107.9 was four basis points higher than the highest estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

The July report also contained good news for workers, with a seasonally-adjusted net 23 percent of small businesses planning to create new jobs. Thirty-seven percent of owners said they have unfilled job openings.

“Small business owners are leading this economy and expressing optimism rivaling the highest levels in history,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita D. Duggan. “Expansion continues to be a priority for small businesses who show no signs of slowing as they anticipate more sales and better business conditions.”

Sales are rising. A net eight percent of all owners reported higher nominal sales in the past three months compared to the prior three months. July was the eighth consecutive strong month of reported sales gains after years of low or negative numbers. Additional July highlights include:

“Small business owners have never been so optimistic for so long, helping to power the second longest expansion in history,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Despite challenges in finding qualified workers to fill a record number of job openings, they’re taking advantage of this economy and pursuing growth.”

 

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