If you like positive economic news, today’s your day.

The NFIB’s long-running Small Business Optimism Survey rose 2.3 points to 100.4 in December, its highest level since October of 2006, with positive gains in eight of 10 indices.

“The Index showed strength in November but most of the gains were confined to just two categories,” according to Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB Chief Economist. “The December Index shows much broader strength led by a significant increase in the number of owners who expect higher sales. This could be a breakout for small business. There’s no question that small business owners are feeling better about the economy. If they continue to feel that way 2015 could be a very good year.”

More respondents last month also said that now is a good time to expand, a sentiment that until recently hasn’t been very common among local business owners. The Index showed gains as well among owners who hired new workers, made capital investments and increased inventory.

Also today, the Labor Department said job openings, a measure of labor demand, increased 2.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted 4.97 million in November, the highest level since January 2001.

“It doesn’t get any better than this for the economy,” Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York, told Reuters. “This is another sign that the labor market is tightening up and we are already starting to see more help wanted signs out there in store windows.”

(Photo: ThinkStock.com)

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