From small firms to corporate titans, U.S. businesses are bullish about the economy and their own plans, betting on tax cuts and other pro-growth policies from the Trump administration, a pair of surveys showed Tuesday. Small business optimism dipped ...
From small firms to corporate titans, U.S. businesses are bullish about the economy and their own plans, betting on tax cuts and other pro-growth policies from the Trump administration, a pair of surveys showed Tuesday.
Small business optimism dipped in February, but from a 12-year high, the National Federation of Independent Business reported. Its index fell 0.6 point to 105.3. Meanwhile, the Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Index shot up 19.1 points in the first quarter to 93.3, the highest since Q2 2014. It was the biggest quarterly jump since the end of 2009, when corporate America was just emerging from the Great Recession.
"I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to enact a meaningful pro-growth agenda that will benefit all Americans, said JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, who's also chairman of Business Roundtable.
Business Roundtable includes CEOs of many of the largest U.S. companies, including Dow Jones industrial average components JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Boeing (BA), 3M (MMM), Caterpillar (CAT), DuPont (DD), Exxon Mobil (XOM), Wal-Mart (WMT) and more. With the Dow industrials up nearly 14% since the election, CEOs only have to look at their own stock options to feel more optimistic.
The Business Roundtable CEO survey found the big CEOs are ramping up hiring and capital spending plans for the next six months, with expectations of higher sales.
In a special question, 52% of CEOs identified tax reform as a top priority to improve the business climate, with regulatory reform and infrastructure coming in second and third, respectively. Trump has promised tax cuts, deregulation and $1 trillion in infrastructure spending. Trump has indicated he supports the idea of a border adjustment tax. The House GOP corporate tax reform, which would slash overall rates, would tax imports at 20%. Several Dow components (and Business Roundtable members) have endorsed a border adjustment tax, including Boeing, General Electric and Caterpillar, but Wal-Mart and retailers are strongly opposed.
Small businesses also identified taxes and red tape as key issues, in the NFIB survey, also citing shortages of qualified workers. Job openings rose to the highest since December 2000, NFIB said, good news for people looking for work. Sales turned higher for the first time in nearly two years.
But the small business advocacy group stressed that hope for pro-growth policies under President Trump can only do so much. Those policy proposals must actually go forward.
"The enthusiasm has yet to be translated into an equally impressive increase in spending and hiring. This will require progress on the agenda that business owners voted for."
Meanwhile, the IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index edged lower in March, but from February's 12-year high.
Job Openings At Small Firms Hit Highest Since December 2000
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