Illinois: #7 nationally for small business optimism

Small businesses nationwide are riding a wave of optimism, and local media in Illinois have already been localizing national reports with anecdotes of local merchants who are feeling good about their business prospects in 2017. Now, we have some data specific to Illinois to back up those positive anecdotes.

The Prairie State ranks #7 nationally in small business optimism, with 72% of the Illinois local merchants reporting positivity this year, according to new data from Womply. In fact, Illinois has 8.5 optimistic small business owners for every pessimistic one, and optimism about business in 2017 outpaces satisfaction with business performance in 2016, according to our data.

So, things are good in Illinois for small businesses, especially the few that made the annual Forbes Best Small Companies list, including Nick’s Pizza & Pub in Crystal Lake. The only downer: all that optimism isn’t translating into strong hiring intent for Illinois small businesses. In fact, only 19% of the state’s local merchants plan to add staff this year, ranking Illinois #35 nationally.

That’s a puzzling paradox, considering our study found strong correlations between optimism and hiring intent. Nationwide, optimistic small business owners are 3.5x more likely to hire and add staff and pessimists are 6.5xmore likely to cut staff and employee pay.

Our study also dives deeper into what’s driving optimism or anxiety for Illinois small business owners, and how they feel about timely policy issues that affect business, like tax reform and Obamacare repeal. Read the full report below.

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