Surveys across the board show U.S. small business owners are for the most part, optimistic about prospects in 2017. While the majority of entrepreneurs report feeling confident about their own businesses prospects, small business owners are divided on whether the current political climate is good for business. According to a recent Womply survey of more than 2,800 small business owners in all 50 states, the election of Donald Trump as president is a leading reason for both optimism and pessimism among business owners.
The study, which found that 70 percent of U.S. small businesses are optimistic about the business landscape in 2017, shows a direct correlation between small business owners’ sentiment and their voting preferences, and reveals the political divide between hopeful and skeptical business owners. Optimists reported Donald Trump’s election as president as the No. 3 reason for their confidence, while pessimists cited his election as their No. 1 reason for concern. Pessimists are twice as likely to have not voted, according to the report.
“Local merchants are clearly tuned into current events and factor the broader economic and political landscapes into their business decisions. Small businesses will continue to drive economic and job growth in the U.S. as long as confidence and optimism remain high,” said Womply spokesperson Brad Plothow.
In spite of their split views on the election, small business owners are mostly unified when it comes to concerns about political policies in general. Respondents ranked tax policy, business regulations, health insurance, minimum wage, immigration and overtime among the top policy issues they’d like to see changed, and political persuasion had little impact on their responses.
Business optimism drives economic impact, according to the study, which shows that optimistic business owners are 3.5 times more likely to hire and give raises to employees this year while pessimists are 6.5 times more likely to cut head counts and pay.
“By understanding what local business owners are thinking, we can make predictions about where the economy, labor market, and even the political landscape may be heading throughout 2017 and beyond,” said Plothow.