Economy & Business

Small-Business Optimism Hit Record High in August

President Donald Trump holds up a “Make Our Farmers Great Again” cap during a roundtable discussion on workforce development at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa, July 26, 2018. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Optimism among small-business owners reached a record high in August as Republican-passed tax cuts and deregulation began to bear fruit, according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business.

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index hit 108.8 last month, the highest it’s been in the index’s 45-year history, beating the previous record of 108 set in 1983 under Republican president Ronald Reagan.

The record optimism reflects a steady trend of hiring and capital investment among small businesses flush with cash, according to NFIB analalysts.

“Today’s groundbreaking numbers are demonstrative of what I’m hearing everyday from small business owners – that business is booming,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita D. Duggan, in a press release Tuesday. “As the tax and regulatory landscape changed, so did small business expectations and plans.”

The 45-year high comes as GDP growth reached 4.2 percent in the second quarter, the fastest rate seen in four years.

The Trump administration has taken steps in recent days to brand the economy as the result of the president’s policies after President Obama claimed credit for the strong economic indicators in a speech at the University of Illinois on Friday.

“When you hear how great the economy is doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started,” Obama said to applause and laughter. “When the monthly job numbers come out suddenly Republicans are saying its a miracle.”

Kevin Hassett, who chairs the Council of Economic Advisers, rebuked Obama’s claim during a White House press briefing Monday, displaying a number of charts reflecting economic trends — including business investment, business optimism, and labor participation — that took a positive turn around the 2016 election.

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