Small Business

Highest small-business optimism in over 10 years on hopes for loosened regulations, Paychex CEO says

Paychex CEO: Small business optimism on the rise

Small-business optimism continued to rise in January, reaching the highest levels in more than 10 years thanks to new executive orders from the White House signaling looser regulations for small businesses, Paychex CEO Martin Mucci told CNBC on Tuesday.

"We're really coming off of a high on ... how great things are going to be," Mucci told "Squawk Box." "You saw ... the executive order that was just signed on less regulations that have been choking small businesses, and now we've had two months where the small-business index has gone up, so really good news. Let's see if it continues to translate into jobs."

The Paychex report, released Tuesday, showed the Paychex/IHS Small Business Jobs Index rising to 100.62, up 0.13 percent in January, the second month in a row to see improvement since February 2016.

Indexes in all U.S. regions increased in January, except for the South Atlantic, which saw only a slight decline of 0.09 percent. The Southeast was the strongest, with Tennessee and Georgia having impressive gains thanks to growing e-commerce and construction, Mucci said.

"You're seeing e-commerce really pick up. You have FedEx in Tennessee, that's picking up some small businesses around them," Mucci said, adding that e-commerce comprises about 15 percent of all sales and continues to rise considerably.

Low oil prices hindered small-business job growth in the Southwest, with Texas being hit the hardest. Mucci said that although the region has seen significant decline, he sees a turnaround in sentiment beginning to play out.

President Donald Trump's executive order on Monday said that for every regulation proposed by a given department, two regulations must be eliminated to balance the budget for the federal regulatory regime. According to the order, the budget for fiscal 2017 is $0.