Small-business confidence is surging in 2018 as optimism rises among small-business owners about the newly enacted tax-reform package, according to the latest CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey, released Tuesday. The CNBC/SurveyMonkey Q1 Small Business Confidence Index saw an increase of five points, from 57 to 62, a record high and the largest quarter-to-quarter move the index has seen since CNBC and SurveyMonkey began measuring last year. This is the first survey since President Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law on December 22, 2017.
In the Q4 survey, small-business owners were split evenly on the core question about the effect that tax policy would have on their business. Opinions have shifted significantly: Twice as many now expect changes in tax policy to have a positive rather than negative effect on their businesses. Forty-six percent of those surveyed say tax policy changes will have a positive effect, up from 38 percent in the fourth quarter. The number of those saying tax policy changes will have a negative impact fell sharply, from 36 percent in the fourth quarter to 23 percent in the most recent survey.
The National Small Business Association, a nonpartisan lobbying group, also recently released its Year-End Economic Report for 2017, which found that more than half of small-business owners feel the national economy is doing better than it was just six months ago. This is compared to 43 percent who reported the same in December 2016, and only 20 percent in December 2015. In addition, 59 percent said they anticipate economic expansion in the next year, and more than one-third of small-business owners said they felt very confident about the future of their own business, the highest level in more than a decade.
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