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Article 1 (Feb 2017): Small Business Owners Register Optimism

February 23, 2017
Small business owners, like their peers in larger companies, have complained for years about the myriad of challenges that handicap their ability to grow their businesses. That wave of pessimism is on the wane, however, as a relaxed regulatory environment and favorable tax structures are expected to take hold under the new administration.
You don't have to look any further than statistics released after the November elections about small business sentiment.  The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) conducts surveys to gauge small business sentiments.  For December, the index's numbers were off the charts, jumping to its highest level since 2004. It increased 38 points among those who anticipated that business condition would improve.

In a statement, NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan summed up the survey like this: "We haven't seen numbers like this in a long time. Small business is ready for a breakout, and that can only mean very good things for the U.S. economy."
Those surveyed who thought business conditions would improve moved up from a net 12 percent in November to a net 50 percent in December.  After the 2016 elections, almost of half of small business owners said they expected business conditions to improve.
While there is optimism, there are challenges, particularly about employment. Small business owners cite the difficulty of finding qualified workers as a challenge. The December data showed that almost of half of owners reported few, or no, qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill, according to the NFIB.

While these businesses may be small, the owners carry a lot of weight. The U.S. Small Business Association found that small businesses created nearly two million of the roughly three million private-sector jobs generated in 2014. Also, more than seven million of the 11 million jobs created during the post-2008 financial recovery have been generated by startups and small enterprises.
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