If you’ve been following our recent stories about small business sentiment, you won’t be surprised that the largest bank in the U.S. (by assets), JP Morgan Chase, yesterday (2.21.2018) released its annual “business leaders outlook survey,” revealing the highest level of small business optimism recorded in years. The bank credited recent regulatory reform, corporate tax cuts and a steadily improving economy.

51% |  Small business leaders who are optimistic about the global economy, up 10 points vs. last year
63% | Are optimistic about the national economy, consistent with last year
60% | Are optimistic about their local economy, up 5 points vs. last year

A note of caution: skilled workers

As we’ve seen in other recent surveys, especially NFIB’s monthly tracking poll, small business owners are beginning to get nervous about finding the skilled workers they need to grow. One problem is the looming wave of retirements that small businesses face.

“This trending positivity is confirmation that something real is happening in the economy,” said Jim Glassman, senior economist at JPMorgan Chase. “Business optimism translates to business activity, which is why we’re seeing increased expectations across the board. For businesses that can hire and retain talent in today’s tight labor market, there are growth opportunities to capitalize on.”

31% | Percentage of small business executives concerned with the supply of qualified candidates

The expectations and challenges of small business leaders


62% | Expect an increase in sales
59% | Expect an increase in profits


54% | Need to increase sales (Up 16 points vs. last year)
28% | Taxes ( Consistent with last year)
27% | Uncertainty of economic conditions (Down 7 points vs. last year)

Recent research released showing record high optimism among small business owners

Small Business Optimism Continued to Set Record Highs in January | 2018