03/13/18: The National Federation of Independent Business (“NFIB”) announced today that its Small Business Optimism Index, which is based on monthly surveys of thousands of small U.S. business owners regarding their economic sentiment, rose for the second consecutive month during February and to its highest level since 1983.

Small Business Optimism Index (02-18)

Commenting on its February survey, the NFIB’s Chief Economist, Bill Dunkelberg, wrote, “Small business owners are telling us loud and clear that they’re optimistic, ready to hire, and prepared to raise wages – it’s one of the strongest readings I’ve seen in the 45-year history of the Index.” Dunkelberg added, “The fact that several components saw significant increases tells us that small businesses are flourishing in a way we haven’t seen in over a decade.”

U.S. Inflation Remains under Control

Separately, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that its Consumer Price Index, which is based on the prices of a broad group of U.S. goods and services, rose by 2.3% during February, as compared to the same month a year ago, indicating that U.S. inflation remains under control.

U.S. Consumer Price Index (02-18)

The economic developments mentioned above suggest that the U.S. economy will continue to expand at a healthy pace and that U.S. stock prices, in general, will continue to trend higher over at least the next few months.