Colorado Comment on Latest Small Business Optimism Index

Date: September 14, 2021

Uncertainty and malaise cannot continue much longer without causing irreparable harm

DENVER, Sept. 14, 2021—The nation’s leading small-business association today released its monthly Small Business Economic Trends (SBET) report on the Main Street economy, and once again, its negligible improvement is of little comfort to the Colorado state director for NFIB, which publishes the SBET.

“This has got to stop,” said Tony Gagliardi, NFIB’s Colorado state director. “We have spoken of the uncertainty of finding qualified workers and the perfect storm which awaits the re-setting of unemployment tax rates on employers ad nauseum. Whether the end of the additional $300 will be of any benefit will not be determined until quite some time. Small-business owners right now are tending to day-to-day operations without hope for much immediate improvement.”

SBET Takeaways

For Gagliardi, the things that stood out in today’s SBET were 48-year highs in both unfilled job openings and increased compensation, countered by drops in the percentage of small-business owners expecting the economy to improve and ‘now a good time to expand’ categories.

“It was great to hear Gov. Jared Polis say the state income tax rate should be zero, but given the composition of our Legislature, that is pie in the sky. Much more helpful and readily achievable would be to direct some federal money lavished on Colorado toward reducing or eliminating the unemployment insurance loans the state has taken out with the feds. That would provide a great deal of comfort to small-business owners who would not be faced with astronomic spikes in their UI taxes. Still, Congress is the elephant in the room, and right now that elephant is destroying the furniture with ideas such as scaling back the Small Business Deduction on federal taxes, repealing the stepped-up-basis on estate taxes, and passing a Pro Act that puts independent contracting in the lane with on-coming traffic. We’re not going to get better SBET reports until a whole lot of issues are decided — and decided positively for Main Street enterprises.”

Read about NFIB’s Small Business Survival campaign here.

From NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg

“As the economy moves into the fourth quarter, small business owners are losing confidence in the strength of future business conditions. The biggest problems facing small employers right now is finding enough labor to meet their demand and for many, managing supply chain disruptions.”

More comment is available on Page 3 of the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends report.

About the Small Business Economic Trends (SBET) report

The NFIB Research Center has collected Small Business Economic Trends data with quarterly surveys since the 4th quarter of 1973 and monthly surveys since 1986. Survey respondents are drawn from a random sample of NFIB’s membership. The report is released on the second Tuesday of each month. Today’s survey was conducted in August 2021.

The SBET’s primary value is anticipating short-run fluctuations in economic activity. An additional value of the SBET is its measurement of small business activities and concerns over time. The benefit of a longitudinal data set offers an invaluable perspective on how policies and business cycles impact small businesses over time. The SBET is one of the few archival data sets on small business, particularly when research questions address business operations rather than opinions. Today, it’s the largest, longest-running data set on small business economic conditions available.

Contact: Tony Gagliardi, Colorado State Director, [email protected],
or Tony Malandra, Senior Media Manager, [email protected]

Keep up with the latest Colorado small-business news at or by following NFIB on Twitter @NFIB_CO or on Facebook @NFIB.CO


For 78 years, NFIB has been advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven association. Since its founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses and remains so today. For more information, please visit

NFIB Colorado
1700 Lincoln Street, 17th Floor
Denver, CO 80203
Twitter: @NFIB_CO
Facebook: NFIB.CO


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