There are between 20-to-30 million small businesses in this country who employ more than half the U.S. workforce so it’s safe to say that when small business owners are feeling good it bodes well for the entire economy.
So guess what? Small businesses are feeling good. At least, that’s the takeaway from two big reports released this week.
Although a little negative on their holiday sales outlook, 49 percent of business owners surveyed in Capital One’s latest Spark Business Barometer reported “good” or “excellent” business conditions in their area heading into 2017. (Capital One is a client of my company, The Marks Group).
The data, compiled from small businesses with under $1 million in annual revenues, showed a jump compared to the first half of 2016 and was slightly above average since the Barometer began tracking business conditions in 2013. Twelve percent of small business owners believe their financial position will be “much better” in the next six months which is up three points from earlier this year. Overall, the index found that business owners are feeling more optimistic compared to the first half of 2016, and are on track to reaching the highest levels of confidence measured from 2014 and 2015.
The Capital One survey was based on interviews that were conducted right before the election. So what about after the election?
That question might be answered by an encouraging report from the National Federation of Independent Business Owners. The non-profit association reported that although small business optimism remained flat leading up to Election Day, it “rocketed higher as business owners expected much better conditions under new leadership in Washington.” The group’sr November index improved to a level above its 42-year average for only the third time since 2007, driven by much higher expected sales and business conditions.
Is it a Trump-Bump? I think it is. The question, of course, is whether reality will meet those expectations in the months to come.