Small Business Optimism Index Slightly Improves 

Date: March 12, 2024

But is one of the most “vicious legislatures Colorado has ever seen” preventing real traction? 

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

DENVER, March 12, 2024—Overall, release today of NFIB’s latest Small Business Economic Trends report (aka the Optimism Index) showed a 26th consecutive month below its 50-year average, but components within the monthly measurement offered some long-awaited hope for a more vibrant Main Street economy. That is if the anger, backbiting, and rancor burbling up in the Colorado General Assembly doesn’t spill out onto the street. 

“One could say that as the Colorado economy continues to struggle due to persistent fears of higher inflation and the lack of qualified workers in the workforce, there is no larger a threat to small business than the most partisan, progressive, and, at times, malevolent legislatures Colorado has ever seen,” said Tony Gagliardi, NFIB’s Colorado state director. “From attempting to shut down the largest energy producing sector of Colorado’s economy to e-bicycle vendors having to wait almost a year and a half for reimbursement for payment vouchers given to customers purchasing e-bikes, citizens need to be reminded to wake up. Even Jimmy Kimmel couldn’t make up this stuff for his late-night show.” 

Added Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB’s chief economist, “While inflation pressures have eased since peaking in 2021, small business owners are still managing the elevated costs of higher prices and interest rates. The labor market has also eased slightly as small business owners are having an easier time attracting and retaining employees.” 

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 

  • Reports of labor quality as the single most important problem for business owners decreased five points to 16%, the lowest reading since April 2020.
  • The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher increased six points from January to a net negative 10% (seasonally adjusted), an improvement from last month.
  • Small business owners’ plans to fill open positions continue to slow, with a seasonally adjusted net 12% planning to create new jobs in the next three months, the lowest level since May 2020.
  • Thirty-seven percent (seasonally adjusted) of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, down two points from January and the lowest reading since January 2021.
  • The net percent of owners raising average selling prices declined one point from January to a net 21% (seasonally adjusted), the lowest reading since January 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  








Subscribe For Free News And Tips

Enter your email to get FREE small business insights. Learn more

Get to know NFIB

NFIB is a member-driven organization advocating on behalf of small and independent businesses nationwide.

Learn More

Or call us today

© 2001 - 2024 National Federation of Independent Business. All Rights Reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy