In July 2018, NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index reached 107.9, its second highest level in the survey’s 45-year history. More employers—a record number, in fact—have job openings and are reporting job creation plans.
“Expansion continues to be a priority for small businesses who show no signs of slowing as they anticipate more sales and better business conditions,” NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan said.
While the survey focuses on nationwide trends rather than state-specific data, small business owners in Georgia are experiencing similar results. Back in May, a U.S. News and World Report story about small business lending being at an all-time high in Georgia also reported that Georgia is headed for its strongest small business growth since 2014. According to the story, using Bank of America data, 81 percent of Peach State small businesses are planning expansions within the next five years, and 36 percent of the state’s businesses are also planning to hire more employees within the year. In 2017, $1.41 billion was loaned to Georgia small businesses in order to fund these expansions.
Additionally, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, almost 700 more small businesses in Georgia stayed in business instead of permanently closing in 2016. This is a slightly higher survival rate (about 52 percent) than the national rate of 50 percent. The Atlanta Business Chronicle also reported that Georgia farms are doing very well despite weather issues and a pending trade war.
This optimism and success has been building for a few years in Georgia, the Atlanta Small Business Network (ASBN) reported. According to 2015 data from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, even three years ago, Georgia small businesses employed 43.2 percent of the state’s private workforce and were experiencing the most job growth—companies with fewer than 100 workers created more than 73,000 jobs, and employers with fewer than 20 workers added almost 38,000 jobs.
“Overall sentiment regarding small business confidence seems to be high,” the ASBN summarized. “Outside of federal issues relating to tariffs, small business owners have a lot to look forward to. Businesses are expanding their reach as well as the properties where they currently reside. Even the inability to find talent is a positive-leaning problem for small companies as it shows that these firms actually have the means to hire. Georgia seems to be at the pinnacle of this confidence. Small businesses are confident enough to pursue and borrow loans and ramp up their hiring efforts. There will come a time when the economy will be a cause for caution, but fortunately for many small business owners, that time is not the present.”