January 10, 2017, 6:00pm EST
This morning we got a report that small business optimism hit the highest level since 2004, on the biggest jump since 1980. This follows a big jump in December, which obviously follows the November elections.
Small business owners that have survived the storm over the past nine years, most likely have had credit lines pulled, demand for their products and services crushed, and have slashed their workforce. If they were able to piece it together to continue on, they’ve operated as lean as possible, and they’ve slowly seen it all recover. And finally, over the past couple of years, they’ve likely had banks calling offering them money again. But, given the scars of the financial crisis, taking on debt again (or more debt) in an uncertain world, many have turned it down.
But if you’re going to dip a toe in the water again, take on some risk to grow your business (to expand, to hire, to build inventories), small business owners are saying now is the time. They are buying into what the Trump agenda is promising–a “dynamic booming economy.”
You can see that reflected in this chart…
The survey shows that 50% of small business owners expect the economy to improve. That’s the most in 15 years. With that, they think it’s a good time to expand. And they expect higher sales coming down the pike, so they’ve been building inventories.
As we know, in the recovery that was manufactured by the Fed (and other central banks), Main Street didn’t participate–trillions of dollars spent and little impact on the real economy. But this survey shows that the Trump effect is already doing what nine years, and trillions of dollars of monetary stimulus and intervention, couldn’t do. Most of the small business sentiment data has now returned to pre-crisis levels, just on the pent up demand that has been unleashed by the prospects of a return to prosperity.
This number tends to correlate highly with consumer confidence numbers. Consumer confidence numbers drive consumption. And consumption contributes about two-thirds of GDP. By restoring confidence, the Trump effect on growth can be self-fulfilling.
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