Small Business Optimism Starts Third Quarter Near Record High

President Donald Trump waves to the crowd as he leaves the stage at the end of a campaign rally Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in Cape Girardeau, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Small business optimism continued its two-year streak of record highs in October.

The National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Optimism Index read 107.4 for the month, down a half a percentage point from the month earlier reading of 107.9. Economists had expected the index to hold steady.

“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.”

The share of owners looking to expand inventories rose in October, as did the share of those reporting higher sales. Both add to economic growth

“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.”

Labor does appear to be in short-supply. Thirty-eight percent of owners reported job openings they could not fill. Sixty percent said they are higher or trying to hire, according to the NFIB.

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