January 09, 2020


Sets Goal of 500,000 Business Creations and 250 IPOs a Year to Drive Wealth Creation and Opportunity

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue today called for “more business, not less” and announced new goals for U.S. companies to drive collective prosperity.

“If we want to create more wealth and opportunity for all Americans, the answer is more business, not less,” Donohue said today during his annual State of American Business speech. “We need a wakeup call in this country that disincentivizing growth and demonizing corporations is no way to generate collective prosperity.”

As a way to “reinvigorate the American innovation machine,” Donohue announced goals of 500,000 business creations and 250 initial public offerings (IPOs) a year for U.S. companies.

Donohue pointed to lower levels of business creation compared with decades ago when the U.S. was a smaller country. He also expressed concern that there are half as many public companies today as in 1996. Overall, private American businesses employ 85% of the 157 million U.S. jobs and account for about $9.3 trillion in annual salaries and wages and $1.7 trillion in health insurance, retirement, paid leave, and pensions.

By comparison, from 2006 to 2016 the average number of IPOs per year was 126, and during that same period the U.S. economy averaged 482,519 business creations per year.

Number of IPOs Per Year Since 1980
New Businesses Per Year Since 1980

“When I hear politicians talk about this problem, it is all too often followed by a plan for more regulation. But that is exactly the wrong approach. If we want more start-ups, then we need to make it easier to start a company. If we want more public companies, we need to make it easier to go public and allow more Americans on Main Street to grow their money on Wall Street.”

Donohue added that presidential candidates are calling for the federalization of some American businesses, the elimination of private health insurance, an outright ban on the energy production that has strengthened our national and economic security, and a major redistribution of wealth to pay for programs that would put the government in charge of more aspects of our lives.

“The business community must not, and will not, stand on the sidelines of these debates,” he said. “While the Chamber never engages in presidential politics, we will praise or criticize proposals by presidential candidates from both parties. We will lead the opposition to the policies that undermine the job creators, that penalize the innovators, and that target the wealth creators and investors that allow Americans to provide for their families and plan for their futures.”

Today’s event marked the 21st delivery of the annual address by Donohue, who has led the U.S. Chamber since 1997. The State of American Business event is the premier annual event on the debates, decisions, and disruptions facing the American business community across the U.S. and around the world. The program includes the State of American Business address by CEO Thomas J. Donohue, and new this year, the speech will be followed by a Faces of Business fireside chat moderated by Chamber President Suzanne Clark and featuring Revolution Chairman and CEO Steve Case, and a panel of American entrepreneurs.

The State of American Business draws top Washington influencers, policymakers, national media, and digital audiences worldwide. Demonstrating the depth and breadth of the Chamber’s advocacy across the U.S. and world, this year the event will feature watch parties and live interactions with chambers of commerce in five countries and seven states.

Donohue’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are available online here. To watch the 2020 “State of American Business” address, please visit our website.