Jan 13, 2020 - 9:00am

State of American Business: Uncertain but Hopeful


Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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U.S. Chamber CEO Tom Donohue speaking at the 2020 State of American Business.
U.S. Chamber CEO Tom Donohue speaking at the 2020 State of American Business.

Heading into 2020, the state of American business is uncertain but hopeful. While the economy is on solid footing, many uncertainties remain—in Washington, in the states, in the world, and in the political arena and public debate.

Some say nothing can get done in Washington during an election year. At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, however, we say it is because it’s an election year that progress can and must be made. Building on the momentum of key bipartisan victories at the end of 2019, we are calling for a year of pragmatic, meaningful action on a slate of priorities, starting with completion of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Beyond Washington, the Chamber is focused on addressing challenges in the states. According to the Chamber’s new Worker Availability Ratio Index, there are now fewer available workers than open jobs across America. This is the tightest labor market we have seen in decades. We are promoting local solutions to workforce challenges, including Talent Pipeline Management—an employer-led initiative to help equip workers with the skills needed for existing jobs.

We are also confronting new challenges at the state level, including a wave of class litigation abuse being driven by class action lawyers in thousands of municipalities across the country. In the regulatory space, we are pushing for a federal data privacy standard to prevent a patchwork of state laws from emerging that would make interstate commerce all but impossible. And we are actively fighting back against state-level proposals to circumvent federal law on issues like independent contractors, arbitration, and internet regulation.

In the global economy, we are working to provide greater certainty for businesses by calling for strong, principle-based U.S. leadership. The U.S. must retain its role as a champion for free trade and pursue more markets for American-made goods and services. We must continue to make progress toward a comprehensive trade deal with China that lowers tariffs and addresses its trade and industrial policies.

Finally, we are making the case for free enterprise in the public debate over the future of our economic system. If we want to create more wealth and opportunity for all Americans, the answer is more business, not less. We need more businesses to start, grow, and, in some cases, go public to make sure we have an innovative economy that benefits all Americans.

While the state of American business may be uncertain, the spirit of American business is undaunted. And it’s in this spirit that the Chamber will continue to guide our country through an important year and into a pivotal decade. 

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About the Author

About the Author

Thomas J. Donohue
Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Thomas J. Donohue is chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.