Optimism Index Has Most Growth in 36 Years

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December was a great month of optimism among America’s small businesses as it soared its greatest amount since 1980. The presidential election is partly responsible for the surge, according to observers.

Washington-based National Federation of Independent Business’s index climbed by 7.4 points in December, arriving at its highest since 2004, at 105.8. Seven of its 10 components went up last month. Seventy-three percent of the monthly surge was caused by happier opinions about the future of sales and the economy, said the group.

Many business owners declared that now is a good time to grow their businesses, while more companies said they plan to increase their investment in their companies as well as continue to hire more employees.

“We haven’t seen numbers like this in a long time,” Juanita Duggan, president and chief executive of the NFIB. “Small business is ready for a breakout, and that can only mean very good things for the U.S. economy. Business owners are feeling better about taking risks and making investments.”

The NFIB report was based on the answers 619 small-business owners gave to a survey taken throughout December, 2016. Small companies represent over 99 percent of all employers in the US. Small businesses are defined as a company with less than 500 workers.

Half of all those who answered the survey said they expect better business conditions in the coming six months, the largest percentage since March 2002.

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