Small Business Optimism Soars to Prepandemic Levels

Small Business Optimism Soars to Prepandemic Levels

It’s all the way back.

Optimism among small-business owners climbed higher in September to prepandemic levels.

The National Federal of Independent Business said Tuesday its optimism index rose 3.8 points to 204, a level it last reached in January. That is among the highest readings recorded in the closely watched gauge of business confidence.

Economists had expected the index to more or less hold steady near last month’s reading of 100.2. The range of estimates was between 99 and 102, so this was twice as strong as the most bullish forecast.

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The improvement comes as many businesses have been able to open more fully. It suggests that the end of small-business relief programs, which mostly wrapped up in August, did not hurt business owners as much as feared.

The threat of a second round of shutdowns, however, still hangs over businesses. THe NFIB’s uncertainty index climbed to 92, higher than

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