The third quarter report of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Index shows "employers are experiencing high levels of confidence about the state of their local economies and their financial future" during President Donald Trump's tenure.
The Small Business Index is a multiyear collaboration by MetLife and the U.S. Chamber "to elevate the voice of America's small business owners" highlighting the role of small business in the U.S. economy.
Tom Sullivan, vice president of small business policy at the U.S. Chamber, explained the importance of business confidence when it comes to economic growth in a U.S. Chamber and MetLife press release. "Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy," he said. "It's important that we provide them with a sense of certainty and work towards finding solutions that enable business growth and create an environment where Main Street businesses can continue to thrive."
The SBI's overall score during the third quarter of 2019 is 70.7, which is 2 percentage points higher than in the second quarter. The score suggests over two-thirds of U.S. small business owners are optimistic about the local and national business environment, as well as about their own companies' future.
Results from the survey of 1,000 small business owners showed an upward trend in confidence across the board, and more than a five point uptick from Q1 2019. Not only are small business owners confident about the national economy, they are also optimistic about their local economic outlook. More than half of small business owners (56%) report that their local economy is in good health, the largest percentage since Q4 2018.
"Strong local economies have a ripple effect, and create stronger state, regional, and national economies," said Jessica Moser, senior vice president and head of MetLife's Group Benefits Small & Specialty Business organization. "Increased small business confidence will allow them to continue to hire and to invest in their businesses, which ultimately helps everyone."
The U.S. Chamber report also surveyed veteran-owned businesses and trends in the hiring of veterans. Approximately 80 percent of small businesses reported they support hiring veterans, and 46 percent of them have hired veterans. Roughly a quarter of veteran-owned small businesses intentionally target veterans in their hiring process, as do one in ten non-veteran owned small businesses.
"Veterans are proven learners with a passion for teamwork and a commitment to results," said Joe Shamess, co-founder and owner of veteran-owned Flags of Valor. "Every sailor, soldier, airman and marine entered military service needing to learn the basic skills of the armed forces and the advanced skills to support dynamic missions. Additionally, many of them have even succeeded at their missions in combat environments. Employing and empowering veterans is what we are all about! It’s a win-win for businesses and their communities."