WASHINGTON – Small business owners have never been more positive about the economy, according to a new survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB).
Thirty-two percent of members surveyed say now is a good time to expand their businesses, which is the highest level in the history of the survey that began in 1973.
It also finds actual earnings are up 11 points from December.
"Main Street is roaring," said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. "Small business owners are not only reporting better profits, but they're also ready to grow and expand."
"The record-level of enthusiasm for expansion follows a year of record-breaking optimism among small businesses," she continued.
With low unemployment, employers are starting to raise wages to compete for and retain the best workers.
"Finding qualified workers now exceeds taxes and regulations as the top concern for small businesses," said Duggan.
More small businesses are planning to make capital outlays, increase inventories and hire more workers – demonstrating overall optimism about the economy.
"This is in large response to the new management in Washington tackling the biggest concerns of small business owners – high taxes and regulations," Duggan explained.
One problem identified in the survey is a lack of qualified workers.
Forty-nine percent of businesses surveyed reported having difficulty finding people to hire. Twenty-two percent list a lack of qualified workers as their single most important business problem.