Small-Firm Confidence Stateside Hits on Tax-Reform Win

A new poll released Tuesday suggests mall-business confidence is surging in 2018 as optimism rises among small-business owners about the newly enacted tax-reform package.

The CNBC/SurveyMonkey Q1 Small Business Confidence Index saw an increase of five points, from 57 to 62, a record high and the largest quarter-to-quarter move the index has seen since the two agencies began measuring last year. This is the first survey since President Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law on December 22, 2017.

In the fourth-quarter survey, small-business owners were split evenly on the core question about the effect that tax policy would have on their business. Opinions have shifted significantly: Twice as many now expect changes in tax policy to have a positive rather than negative effect on their businesses. In all, 46% of those surveyed say tax policy changes will have a positive effect, up from 38% in the fourth quarter.

The number of those saying tax policy changes will have a negative impact fell sharply, from 36% in the fourth quarter to 23% in the most recent survey.

Half of small-business owners are now expecting to see tax cuts in 2018.

Confidence rose among almost all demographic groups, with the largest increases coming from companies with five to nine employees, and small-business owners ages 35–44 and 55–64.