NFIB Index of Small Business Optimism is at an all-time high as we enter 2018. The yearly index is a barometer for the general mood of small business owners across the US. A sharp rise in optimism was logged after the 2016 election, and Louisiana NFIB Director Dawn Starns says a lot of that has to do with the Trump administration’s promise of regulatory rollback and tax cuts.

“Small business owners just felt like the new administration was going to come in and bring some changes, and they have in 2017.”

Starns says a big factor was the judicial defeat of a Labor Department overtime rule. The rule would have required businesses to pay time and a half on overtime hours to roughly 4.6 million workers earning under $47,476 a year, who work more than forty hours a week. She says that was a boon for small businesses.

“That was huge, we were fighting that in 2016, and we saw them put an end to that. That would have had a huge impact on small business owners on how they pay their hourly and managers.”

While optimism is high, Starns says businesses are facing one potential roadblock: finding enough qualified workers. She says it could hold back the Louisiana economy.

“Small business owners have to compete with big business and with each other, and finding qualified workers is a big problem in Louisiana and across the nation.”