The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose to its second highest level in the survey’s 45-year history to 107.9 in July, just a whisker away from its record-high of 108 set back in July 1983. Small businesses are one of the backbones of the U.S. economy and employ millions of Americans.

“Small business owners are leading this economy and expressing optimism rivaling the highest levels in history,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “Expansion continues to be a priority for small businesses who show no signs of slowing as they anticipate more sales and better business conditions.”  This is such a strong report and is a reason why rates simply can’t get much better.

Majorities reported both plans to hire (59%) and difficulty filling key positions (52%), with many owners again saying lack of qualified workers is their top business challenge.
Most (58%) respondents reported making capital outlays in July with 30% planning additional investment in the next few months. This is particularly the case in manufacturing.

All of this bodes well for strong GDP growth and job gains, a surge in manufacturing in the U.S. and hopefully higher wages too.