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Checking in with Small Business

It’s been a nearly a year since I last highlighted the optimism expressed by small business owners in the monthly survey by the NFIB Research Foundation. With policy uncertainty high and the feeling that our politicians aren’t accomplishing anything, I wanted to see if their confidence has been dented. October’s report was recently released, and optimism remains high as owners “expect better sales and say it’s a good time to expand.” NFIB Chief Economist, Bill Dunkelberg, stated, “…In the nearer term, they are more optimistic about real sales growth and improved business conditions through the end of the year.” In addition, plans to spend on capital projects held steady. Sentiment still remains much higher than 12 months ago.

One area of concern, and it is one that many of our small business owner clients express at meetings, is employment. Nearly 60% of respondents reported hiring or trying to hire, but many of these firms could not find qualified applicants to fill the position. Finding talent is the second largest concern with taxes being the largest one. Business owners face a tough choice. To maintain or to grow their businesses, owners may have to pay up to fill open positions.

Overall, a healthy report and politics are not negatively impacting the outlook. However, with taxes as the #1 concern listed by business owners, developments with the tax legislation must be monitored.

To read more about the survey, please visit http://www.nfib.com/surveys/small-business-economic-trends/