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


June 17, 2019


By all objective measures, the American economy is going strong. Wages are growing steadily for the first time in a decade, while unemployment has dropped to 3.6% – the lowest it’s been in nearly 50 years. Add to the good news the most recent finding from the MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index: 69% of small business owners have a positive outlook on the future of their companies.

Our survey reveals growing confidence among America’s Main Street businesses. The goal now is to keep optimism high by continuing to push for and achieve growth-oriented policies and reforms that help small businesses succeed. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. They represent more than 99% of all employers, account for nearly half of all private sector workers, and produce more than 60% of new jobs. The country’s economic success hinges on the ability of small business owners to build capital, hire workers, and grow their companies at scale. That’s why the Chamber spotlights America’s entrepreneurs and the challenges and opportunities they face in our quarterly Small Business Index. The Index is part of a multiyear collaboration with MetLife to elevate the voice of small businesses and highlight the important roles they play in our society.

Our Q2 Index – which we unveiled last week at a gathering of small business owners in Atlanta – indicates a sharp uptick in economic optimism among small business owners. Most notably, 59% of them say the national economy is in good health, up 6 points from the previous quarter. This increase follows the trend of growing confidence in the economy – and more specifically, the small business environment – that we have observed over the last two years.

So what has led to renewed optimism among America’s small business owners? In a few words – smart pro-growth policies.

From the largest regulatory relief effort in a generation to historic tax reform, the Chamber has fought long and hard to secure meaningful policy victories for America’s small businesses. And the results are starting to show. But now is not the time to rest on our laurels. To keep the economic momentum going, we need to improve workforce training and adopt a commonsense immigration system that attracts and welcomes talent at all skill levels. We also need to increase simple and affordable health care options for small businesses so that they can provide insurance coverage for their employees.

Our philosophy is simple: What’s good for small business is good for the economy. That’s why the Chamber will continue advocating for forward-thinking reforms that empower entrepreneurs to succeed.

About the authors

Thomas J. Donohue

Thomas J. Donohue

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

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