Latest Optimism Index, governor’s UI action, Rich States, Poor States report
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 14, 2021—The release Tuesday of NFIB’s latest Small Business Economic Trends report, followed the next day by Gov. Spencer Cox’s major announcement on unemployment benefits, and then the release of the 2021 edition of the annual Rich States, Poor States study by ALEC, showing Utah No. 1 in the nation – again — made for a packed week of small-business news.
- The most salient result from this month’s Small Business Economic Trends report (aka the Optimism Index) showed a record 44% of small-business owners having difficulties filling job openings. NFIB’s SBET/Optimism Index is the gold-standard measurement of the nation’s small-business economy.
- Wednesday’s announcement by Gov. Spencer Cox that the state would cease to add the federal government’s extra $300 a month on top of state unemployment benefits could not have been better timed or been more welcomed news to small-business owners. “For many people, unemployment benefits became more rewarding than going back to work, which was never their intended purpose, and which has led to record highs in businesses unable to fill open positions,” said Candace Daly, Utah state director for the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB). “The governor’s action comes on the heels of similar announcements made recently by the governors of Arizona, Idaho and Montana, all of whom were also hearing many complaints about the unemployment insurance system.”
- Also on Wednesday, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) released its latest annual Rich States, Poor States report which ranks the economic performance and outlook of every state. Coming out on top?
“Utah, at the top of the rankings for the 14th year in a row, solidified its well-deserved first place spot this year by prioritizing sound economic policy,” said ALEC chief economist and report co-author Jonathan Williams. “Utah has an incredibly strong track record of pro-taxpayer reforms in recent years, including the adoption of a flat personal income tax rate, pension reform … and the state’s innovative approach to property tax reform. The success of Utah’s ‘truth in taxation’ policy for local property taxes, has been noticed by other states.”
Added Daly, “I think what makes our state so successful is the premium we place on asking how every initiative or proposal will affect small businesses before proceeding with making it law. We’re also initiating policies helpful to Main Street enterprises, such as last year’s passage of liability protection against unfair COVID-19 lawsuits, which we were the first in the nation to do. Relieving our small-business owners of the worry about getting sued by someone claiming to have contracted the coronavirus at their business, which could have been contracted anywhere and is almost impossible to prove, was a huge step toward getting them to stay open or re-open.”
Keep up with the latest Utah small-business news at www.nfib.com/utah
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 our founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses and remains so today. For more information, please visit nfib.com.