Colorado Comment on Today’s Grim Optimism Index Report

Date: January 10, 2023

Legislature readying to make things worse for state’s small-business owners

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

DENVER, Jan. 10, 2023—Could it get any worse for small business? Unfortunately, yes. And perhaps the Colorado Legislature is poised to make it worse, said the state director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) today, after his association released its latest findings on the Main Street economy.

“NFIB polls its membership better than any association does theirs, and that occasionally yields some disturbing results,” said Tony Gagliardi, NFIB’s Colorado state director. “But I’ve never seen such a rapid succession of our research show wave after wave of disheartening news as we have seen in this month alone.”

  • On January 3, NFIB released the results from the 23rd edition of its special, periodic COVID-19 surveys, which, among other things, found local economies remaining at below pre-crisis levels of economic activity. 
  • On January 5, NFIB issued its monthly Jobs Report that found 41% (seasonally adjusted) of all owners reporting job openings they could not fill. 
  • Today (January 10), the association released its latest Small Business Economic Trends report (aka the Optimism Index), the most troubling finding from which, according to Gagliardi, is “owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months worsened 8 points from November to a net negative 51 percent.”

“None of this buffeting of bad news for small-business owners, however, will slow the so-called progressives now in firmer control of the Colorado Legislature after last election,” said Gagliardi. “Already, draft proposals on pay equity, joint employer, and predictive scheduling are in the works, the last two of which might as well be called the Fast-Food Restaurant Removal Act of 2023.”

The SBET (Optimism Index) is a national snapshot not broken down by state. The typical NFIB member employs 10 people and reports gross sales of about $500,000 a year.

Key take-away from today’s report

“The Optimism Index declined 2.1 points in December to 89.8. This is the twelfth consecutive month below the 49-year average of 98. The last time the Index was at or above the average was December 2021. Of the 10 index components, 1 increased, 8 decreased, and 1 was unchanged. Thirty-two percent of owners reported that inflation was their single most important problem in operating their business, unchanged from last month. Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months worsened 8 points from November to a net negative 51 percent. Forty-one percent of owners reported job openings that were hard to fill, down 3 points from
November. The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased 8 points to a net 43 percent seasonally adjusted. The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher worsened 2 points from November to a net negative 10 percent.”

From NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg

“Overall, small business owners are not optimistic about 2023 as sales and business conditions are expected to deteriorate. Owners are managing several economic uncertainties and persistent inflation and they continue to make business and operational changes to compensate.”

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


For nearly 80 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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