By Thomas J. Donohue
Pro-business members of Congress have an extraordinary story to tell as they turn their attention to the 2018 midterm elections. Hundreds of members of the U.S. House of Representatives and dozens of U.S. senators have fought tirelessly over the past 15 months to deliver legislative victories for Main Street businesses—and those efforts are paying off. Job creators throughout the country are now reporting a renewed sense of confidence in the future of our economy.
Following the first significant tax reform in 30 years and the most dramatic regulatory rollback in a generation, numerous indicators have shown a historic spike in economic confidence. For example, the quarterly Small Business Index conducted by MetLife and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recorded its largest surge ever in optimism in the first quarter of 2018. Further, a Gallup poll in January found small business optimism to be at an 11-year high, and the National Federation of Independent Business reported that small business leaders have the second-highest level of optimism in the 45-year history of its monthly survey.
It isn’t just small businesses that have a positive outlook. The quarterly RSM US Middle Market Business Index, presented by RSM in partnership with the U.S. Chamber, found that midsize businesses in America are experiencing record-high levels of optimism. It also showed how that confidence is translating into measurable gains for employees. More than 60% of middle market leaders said they plan to raise wages over the next 180 days, while roughly half have already done so during the first quarter. An increasingly positive outlook will also lead to more jobs, with 58% of business leaders planning to increase hiring over the next 6 months.
Many factors, of course, contribute to this uptick in optimism. Yet pro-business members of Congress deserve a significant share of credit for rallying around pro-growth policies and passing them into law. Last week the Chamber recognized 297 members of Congress with the Spirit of Enterprise Award, which honors legislators from both parties with outstanding records of support on critical business issues. We encourage voters to look closely at these lawmakers’ records of achievement when they go to the polls this year.
Sky-high optimism among business leaders is a major indicator that our country and our economy are moving in the right direction. The Chamber believes that the leaders in Congress who worked so hard to benefit our job creators not only deserve credit for their efforts, but they deserve a chance to return to Washington for another term to continue their hard work.