Small firm CEO confidence continues to sink. Economic optimism among small firms sank in the January 2019 survey to its lowest level since the presidential election. The decline in the past year was relatively steep, with the WSJ/Vistage Small Business CEO Confidence Index falling 21% from 120.5 last January to 95.2 in January 2019. Most of the decline was due to increasingly negative views of the national economy, with current assessments falling 36% from last January and expected economic conditions down by 47%. While a decline in the pace of economic growth in 2019 has been anticipated for some time, the recent data reflect increased uncertainty due to a host of issues, including the partial government shutdown, the impact of tariffs, instabilities in financial markets, the global slowdown, and the lack of clarity about monetary policy.