Colorado Comment on Latest Optimism Index Findings  

Date: April 09, 2024

Small businesses measurement registers a 27th consecutive month below its 50-year average 

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

DENVER, April 9, 2024—Today’s release of the monthly Small Business Optimism Index from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) revealed a 27th consecutive month below the measurement’s 50-year average. 

“In addition to state and local policies, the nation’s job creators, small businesses, face challenges from the federal government and regulatory agencies,” said Tony Gagliardi, NFIB’s Colorado state director. “If that is not enough, there are the daily challenges of economic uncertainty. One is Congress’s failure to make permanent the 20 percent small business deduction. Inflation and interest rates make it almost impossible for small businesses to plan. Uncertainty on Main Street can create real economic damage as businesses owners will be doubly cautious when it comes to reinvesting in new equipment or employees.” 

From NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg 

“Small business optimism has reached the lowest level since 2012 as owners continue to manage numerous economic headwinds. Inflation has once again been reported as the top business problem on Main Street and the labor market has only eased slightly.” 

NFIB’s monthly Small Business Economic Trends (SBET) report is the gold standard measurement of America’s small business economy. Used by the Federal Reserve, Congressional leaders, administration officials, and state legislatures across the nation, it’s regarded as the bellwether on the health and welfare of the Main Street enterprises that employ half of all workers, generate more net new jobs than large corporations, and gave most of us the first start in our working life. The SBET (Optimism Index) is a national snapshot of NFIB-member, small-business owners not broken down by state. The typical NFIB member employs 10 people and reports gross sales of about $500,000 a year. 

Highlights from Today’s Report 

  • The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher decreased eight points from February to a net negative 18% (seasonally adjusted).  
  • Twenty-five percent of owners reported that inflation was their single most important problem in operating their business (higher input and labor costs), up two points from February.
  • Owners’ plans to fill open positions continue to slow, with a seasonally adjusted net 11% planning to create new jobs in the next three months, down one point from February and the lowest level since May 2020.
  • Seasonally adjusted, a net 38% reported raising compensation, up three points from February’s lowest reading since May 2021. 

Keep up with the latest Colorado small-business news at and on Twitter @NFIB_CO  


For 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 St.  
17th Floor 
Denver, CO 80203  
Twitter: @NFIB_CO  

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