Optimism Among Small Business Owners Skyrockets to Post-Recession Highs

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Say what you want about President Donald Trump – it looks like small business owners are feeling pretty good about the next four years.

A new survey out from Gallup shows optimism among small business owners has shot through the roof since November, dwarfing last year’s index total and reaching highs not seen since before the 2008 recession. Here’s a short summary, from Gallup itself:

U.S. small-business owners are the most optimistic they have been since July 2007, according to the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index. The overall index is now at 100, up 20 points since November and up 33 points from one year ago. This represents the largest quarterly increase in three years.

The number of small business owners who told Gallup they’d seen their revenues increase over the last 12 months rose from 37 percent in November to 45 percent in February.

Gallup also noted that “64% indicated their cash flow over the past 12 months was very or somewhat good, up nine percentage points from 55% in November and the highest rating on this metric since the third quarter of 2007.”

Overall, 71 percent of small business owners now say they’re in a good financial situation, also the highest total recorded since 2007.

It’s a no-brainer that small business owners would find themselves feeling more optimistic when faced with the possibility of lowered taxes and decreased government burdens -- especially given that a full 28 percent told Gallup that “government policies” was the top challenge facing their business. Of those, 14 percent told Gallup they were mostly concerned about “government regulations,” while another 9 percent listed “taxes” as a top obstacle.

To that end, President Trump has vowed to slash government regulations, mandating early in his presidency that for every new federal regulation that’s passed, two must get tossed on the scrap heap. He’s also vowed to lower taxes on business owners and open up the free market through a series of reforms.

Of the 24 percent of small business owners who listed “economic issues” as their top challenge, eight percent pointed to the economy and four percent listed the cost of health care as their main issue – both areas President Trump and the GOP-led Congress have vowed to tackle.

It remains to be seen whether small business owners will remain so confident, particularly while major issues like health care are still in flux on Capitol Hill. But for now, it looks like mom-and-pop shops are glimpsing a light at the end of what’s been a very long tunnel.

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