American small businesses are feeling more optimistic than any point in nearly 35 years, according to a National Federation of Business survey released Tuesday.

The index of small business optimism rose to 107.6 in February, up from 106.9 in January. Economists had expected the index to remain almost flat at 107.0. The results are the second highest-level since the survey began in 1973.

“Small business owners are telling us loud and clear that they’re optimistic, ready to hire, and prepared to raise wages,” said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkleberg.

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