He’s not even president yet, but Donald Trump seems to be making good on his promise to “make America great again.”
Another indicator is the surging hopefulness among America’s small businesses since the election. In December, an index rating small business optimism rose faster than at any time since 1980, as improved expectations about the economy soared in the aftermath of Trump’s election.
The National Federation of Independent Businesses reported their index jumping 7.4 points in December to 105.8, the highest since the end of 2004. Most of the increase was due to upbeat views on sales and the economy, Bloomberg reports.
The share of small-business owners who say now would be a good time to expand is three times the average of the current expansion. More companies also said they plan to increase their investments and keep hiring more people, reflecting optimism in Trump’s planned deregulation, tax cuts, and infrastructure spending.
“We haven’t seen numbers like this in a long time,” Juanita Duggan, president and chief executive of the NFIB, said in a statement. “Small business is ready for a breakout, and that can only mean very good things for the U.S. economy. Business owners are feeling better about taking risks and making investments.”
The National Federation of Independent Businesses report was based on a survey of 619 small-business owners through Dec. 28. Small companies represent more than 99 percent of all U.S employers, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. A small business is defined as an independent enterprise with no more than 500 employees.
Fifty percent of respondents, the biggest share since March 2002, said they expect better business conditions in the next six months. That was 38 percentage points higher than in November. The net share of firms projecting higher sales jumped by 20 points to 31 percent. Some 29 percent say they will boost capital outlays within six months.
The economy was beginning to (finally!) rebound from the Great Recession that began when Barack Obama took office. Whether a Trump administration can keep the trajectory upward has yet to be seen, but all indicators are positive.
In a poll last month, 42 percent of Americans said the economy would get better this year – the best levels since 2012.
One year ago, some 24% of respondents believed the economy would improve over the following 12 months, equal to the share who believed it would worsen, The Wall Street Journal reports.