For another month, small business optimism hit a near record high as the nation’s engine continues to drive economic growth and add new workers to the workforce.

The small business optimism index hit 107.4 in October, down just half a percentage from September and hovering near an all-time high in August.

This index compiled by the National Federation of Independent Businesses provides a snapshot of small businesses which provide most private sector jobs.

This is great news for the 11.6 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. (39 percent of firms) that employ nearly 9 million workers.

A few highlights from this report:

  • The percent of owners with one or more unfilled openings is at a 45-year record high level.

  • Sixty percent of business owners reported hiring or trying to hire (down 1 point).

  • Employment is growing faster than the population “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.

Policies matter. The regulatory onslaught from the Obama Administration eroded the U.S.’s standing as the most economically competitive nation, but the deregulatory efforts under the Trump Administration that make it easier for small businesses to grow, have propelled us ahead.

Women businesses are feeling this momentum. Women started an average of 1,821 new businesses per day in the U.S. between 2017 and 2018, much faster than the daily averages prior to the recession, during the recession and recovery period, and after recession up to 2017.

One area of concern from the report is the difficulty that small businesses have in filling open positions. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their Single Most Important Business Problem which demonstrates how tight the job market is but also that some workers may not possess the skills to obtain unfilled jobs.

Despite this challenge, high small business optimism provides another indicator that Americans are #betteroffnow.

Now is not the time to put the brakes on the economy by increasing taxes or strangling small business with harmful or unnecessary regulation.


Read the full NFIB report: