Idaho Comment on Latest Optimism Index Findings

Date: February 14, 2024

House Bill 428 would continue to make state a leading example of good governance

Contact: Suzanne Budge, Idaho State Director, [email protected]
or Tony Malandra, Senior Media Manager, [email protected]

BOISE, Idaho, Feb. 14, 2024—The nation’s leading barometer of its small business economy revealed a 25th consecutive month below its 50-year average, according to the latest Small Business Economic Trends (SBET) report released yesterday by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). Idaho, however, is once again doing its best to reverse that.

“In terms of policy, Idaho has a lot to teach Congress on how to foster not fetter a vibrant small business economy, and House Bill 428, which would reduce the amount of unemployment insurance taxes businesses – and only businesses — pay is yet another example of that,” said Suzanne Budge, NFIB Idaho state director. “It would really benefit the state if our Legislature would expedite its passage.”

According to the Idaho Dept. of Labor, which is supporting HB 428, by reducing the unemployment insurance fund size multiplier, businesses would save $44.6 million this year and $116.4 million over five years. “This is no small amount, especially for small businesses, which are still struggling to find help and grappling with inflation,” said Budge.

From NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg

“Small business owners continue to make appropriate business adjustments in response to the ongoing economic challenges they’re facing. In January, optimism among small business owners dropped as inflation remains a key obstacle on Main Street.”

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 Latest Report

  • The frequency of reports of positive profit trends was a net negative 30%, five points worse than in December and a very poor reading.
  • Twenty percent of owners reported that inflation was their single most important problem in operating their business, down three points from last month and one point behind labor quality as the top problem.
  • Small business owners’ plans to fill open positions softened, with a seasonally adjusted net 14% planning to create new jobs in the next three months, down two points from December and the lowest level since May 2020.
  • Thirty-nine percent (seasonally adjusted) of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, down one point from December and the lowest reading since January 2021.

Keep up with the latest Idaho small-business news at, where this news release can also be found, or by following NFIB on Twitter @NFIB_ID.


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 our founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses and remains so today. For more information, please visit

NFIB Idaho
802 W. Bannock Ste. 301
Boise, ID 83702
Web page:
Twitter: @NFIB_ID

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