Small business owners are reporting record-high levels of confidence about their businesses and finances, MetLife and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index indicates.

By the numbers: The Q4 index scored confidence at 71.3, a 0.6-point increase from the previous quarter. More than 71% of the 1,000 small business owners in the survey said they have a "strong outlook" and feel optimistic about their companies and the broader business environment. Both measures are the highest the index has seen since it began in 2017, according to a Chamber of Commerce press release.

  • 59% of small business owners reported a positive outlook on their local economies, a 3% jump from the previous quarter.
  • 57% said they believe the U.S. economy is healthy, a 4-point increase since the first quarter of 2019.

What they're saying: "Although we hear media reports of many larger businesses retrenching, in most industries small businesses continue to thrive, and many indicate plans to expand, whether by increasing headcount, increasing investment in the business, or both," said Jessica Moser, senior vice president of small and specialty business at MetLife, according to the press release.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus

Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and his wife, Pamela, both tested positive for coronavirus, his office announced on Friday.

The state of play: The Northams were tested after one of their staff "who works closely within the couple's living quarters" tested positive. The governor is asymptomatic, while his wife is "experiencing mild symptoms." They plan to isolate at home for 10 days.

Ina Fried, author of Login
38 mins ago - Technology

Amazon wants to flood America with Alexa cameras and microphones

Photo: Amazon

In a Thursday event unveiling a slew of new home devices ahead of the holidays, Amazon made clearer than ever its determination to flood America with cameras, microphones and the voice of Alexa, its AI assistant.

The big picture: Updating popular products and expanding its range to car alarms and in-home drones, Amazon extended its lead in smart home devices and moved into new areas including cloud gaming and car security. The new offerings will also fuel criticism that the tech giant is helping equip a society built around surveillance.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Oil's turbulent long-term future

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The oil sector is facing risks from all sides.

Why it matters: Risk in the industry is nothing new. But these are especially turbulent and uncertain times. The industry's market clout has waned, the future of demand is kind of a mystery, and future U.S. policy is too, just to name three.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!