Optimism among U.S. small businesses surged in December by the most amount not seen since Ronald Reagan was the American president.
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) conducts a monthly survey among its members and compiles the data to come up with the “Optimism Index.” December’s index score marked the biggest one month gain since 1980, and the highest overall score since 2004. Meanwhile that silence you hear is the U.S. media coverage of this story.
The results are consistent with the recent presidential election in that virtually every pre-election poll showed voters preferring Trump over Clinton on the economy by a wide margin. What is impressive is that all of this comes against the backdrop of daily, non-stop negative “reporting” and attacking of Donald Trump by the mainstream media on everything from his cabinet picks to his unconventional use of twitter. Just this week for example we have seen hair raising, unsubstantiated reports by CNN and buzzfeed accusing Trump of embarrassing romps with Russian prostitutes. CNN has since tried to distance itself from buzzfeed (which CNN’s reporting was based on) while buzzfeed continues to embrace their unproven story. The wretched media environment and its’ constant anti-Trump drumbeat appears to be having little or no affect at all on the minds and attitudes of business owners. That’s a reason for all of us to be optimistic.
There are two important reasons why all of this matters. First, it’s psychological. Or as economist Jim O’Sullivan puts it, “Rising confidence adds to the economy’s upward momentum.” “Rising confidence” and upward momentum”. Two characteristics you want in any economy. Secondly, small businesses are America’s largest employer representing 99% of all U.S. employers. In the survey a growing number of small businesses (defined as 500 or less employees) said they plan to increase both hiring and investment in their company. Trump’s plan for igniting the economy through deregulation, tax reform and infrastructure spending were listed as the key reasons. How is that not an important newsworthy story deserving of being broadly reported to audiences? It wasn’t.
The transition period of the new incoming Trump administration has been an interesting one to say the least. During this time we’ve witnessed a number of American companies announce they will not move their manufacturing plants overseas as originally planned but instead will stay put here in the U.S. We have seen foreign based companies announce plans to move assets here and create new American jobs in the process. And now despite the media’s best efforts to create a negative narrative we have this news of the highest jump in optimism among American small business owners since 1980. It seems we can all learn a valuable lesson from America’s business owners. Ignore the elite media and stay focused on that which really matters.
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