A new survey indicates that small-business owners across the U.S. have had a spike in optimism following the GOP sweep during the presidential election. A majority of small-business owners believe that President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress will enact policies that will help them, particularly in taxes and health care.
On Dec. 9, the latest installment of the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index found that the optimism among American small-business owners was at +80, a 12-point increase since July, Gallup reports.
The latest findings are the highest rate of optimism since January 2008, before the Great Recession. Since July, the number of small-business owners predicting their company revenues to rise within the next year climbed up from 65 to 70 percent. Those with the expectation that they would add more jobs rose from 21 to 36 percent, while the amount expecting an easier time to obtain credit grew from 37 to 44 percent.
Comparing the current data to the index's finding in the fourth quarter of 2014, the amount of small-business owners expecting their company's operating environment to improve within the next year rose from 31 to 45 percent -- 43 percent of respondents believe that their situation will be about the same, while 11 percent predicted that it would become worse.
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Compared to 2014, small-business owners' optimism going into the next year rose from 30 to 46 percent; 37 percent felt about the same level of enthusiasm while 17 percent had become less optimistic.
Furthermore, 51 percent of respondents said that they expected to be better off with Trump and a GOP-controlled Congress, while 17 percent believe that they will be worse off. Another 26 percent said that the new administration will have no effect.
According to the report, 61 percent of small-business owners believe that Trump will focus on issues that are important to them, while 33 percent believe that he will not.
The survey also asked small-business owners to rank potential issues that a Trump administration could address in order of importance to their companies. Roughly 80 percent of respondents said that taxation was very important to them, while 76 percent believe that U.S. health care is also a very important issue.
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Perhaps no other demographic in the U.S. has been more frustrated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which mandates that employers with 50 or more workers provide them with health coverage, than small-business owners.
"Obamacare is causing a lot of pain amongst our business owners," Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council CEO Karen Kerrigan told CNBC. "Costs were supposed to go down, not up. ... The employer mandate — not only costs of insurance, but complying with the new system — should be a priority."
Trump has tapped former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) CEO Linda McMahon to run the Small Business Administration (SBA), a government agency that provides support for 28 million small businesses across the U.S., The Hill reports.
As a billionaire and co-founder of the WWE, McMahon does not have readily apparent experience in small business. The staunch Trump ally had contributed $6 million to his presidential campaign.