January 10, 2017

Small-Business Optimism Soars After Trump Election

Optimism on Main Street continues to soar in the wake of the election of Donald Trump. The National Federation of Independent Business' read on small-business sentiment for December hit its highest level since 2004, thanks to a sunnier outlook for business conditions.

The NFIB's index increased by 7.4 points in December to 105.8, up from November's 98.4. It's the largest month-over-month index change since it began in 1986.

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"Optimistic consumers and business owners are more likely to bet (spend and hire) on a future that seems to hold promise," Bill Dunkelberg, the conservative lobbying group's chief economist, wrote in this month's report.

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"There's a shift in emphasis in terms of what small businesses have faced over the last eight years in terms of taxes and regulations, with Republicans holding control of the House and Senate, and Trump winning," said Raymond Keating, chief economist for the nonpartisan Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council. "Small businesses are zeroed in on tax and regulatory reform."

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Small-business borrowing also increased in November, according to Thomson Reuters/PayNet, with the lending index increasing for the first time in six months after Trump was elected.

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If job creation and sales numbers climb, small-business optimism could continue to hold strong, Keating said, adding that action from the Trump administration on key areas, including tax and regulatory reform, will also have a positive impact.

"We are expecting good things to happen," Keating said. "But when will they happen, and when will these policies get implemented?" 

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