Confidence among small business is on the upswing. That’s according to a new report released by the National Small Business Association (NSBA). The 2016 Year-End Economic Report conducted on-line Jan. 16 through Feb. 8, 2017, among 1,426 small-business owners, shows a small-business community with a vastly improved economic outlook than just six months ago. The number of small businesses anticipating economic expansion in the next 12 months increased from 29 percent six months ago to 54 percent today.
“The number of small-business owners who say today’s economy is better than six months ago has nearly doubled since July,” stated NSBA President and CEO Todd McCracken.
“Unfortunately, small-business access to capital and hiring over the past year didn’t mirror that major uptick in outlook and both indicators remained relatively stagnant.”
This sentiment is backed further by the latest issue of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Index of Small Business Optimism that reports small business optimism rising in January to its highest level since December 2004. The NFIB survey is a monthly snapshot of small businesses in the U.S.
“The stunning climb in optimism after the election was significantly improved in December and confirmed in January,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “Small business owners like what they see so far from Washington.” The Index reached 105.9 in January, an increase of 0.1 points. The uptick follows the largest month-over-month increase in the survey’s history.
Despite stubbornly slow growth in hiring among America’s small-business owners, the NSBA report shows hiring projections for the coming 12 months was up 10 percentage points. Accordingly, there were gains in small-business owners’ confidence in their own business: 80 percent said they are confident in the future of their business — the highest this indicator has been in nine years. Seventy-eight percent of small firms already are growing or anticipate growth in the coming year.
“Small business owners like what they see so far from Washington,” NFIB Chief Executive Juanita Duggan said.
However, the number one thing small business wants Congress and the Administration to do is end the partisan gridlock and work together, followed closely by tax simplification, reduce health care costs and address the deficit. NSBA also asked a number of federal contracting questions in the survey and found that, while the majority of prime contractors receive payment within 30 days, only about one-third of subcontractors do.
“Fewer small-business owners today say that economic uncertainty is a significant problem facing their business than at any point in the last nine years,” says NSBA Chair Pedro Alfonso of Dynamic Concepts, Inc. in Washington, D.C. “However, health care costs and the tax burden both increased in terms of major problems facing their business.”