2008 record      


We've been cataloging the sharp upturn in optimism since Donald Trump won the November election, and the Business Roundtable has just added a new one to the pile. Not that you'd know about from the endless media dirge.

The Business Roundtable survey of 141 CEOs — of some of the largest companies in the country — not only found these chief executives more optimistic, but made clear why: Trump's victory in November and the promise of relief from the anti-business agenda of the Obama years.

"I think it's fair to say that CEOs see the business environment as improving with the president's focus on jobs and growth," the Business Roundtable's Joshua Bolten said on releasing the new data. "The Trump administration has started off very aggressively and very positively."

Specifically, the survey found that 41% of those 141 CEOs say they plan to increase hiring in the next six months. That's up from 35% in the fourth quarter of last year.  Just 18% plan to trim jobs, down from 30% in Q4.

What's more, 46% say they plan to increase capital spending, also up from 35% and the end of last year. And 78% expect sales to rise in the next six months.

As a result, the Roundtable's overall CEO Economic Optimism Index shot up by 19.1 points to hit 93.3, marking the biggest increase in this index in nearly eight years.

This follows other surveys that found similar leaps in optimism among small and middle-sized firms. The National Federation of Independent Business' index — which shot up after November — is at a 12-year high.

The JPMorgan Chase survey of 1,400 middle-market executives found that 80% of these executives are optimistic about the economy, which is nearly double from a year ago, and the highest level since the survey began seven years ago.

The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index is the highest it's been since October 2004. Other confidence measures show similar jumps.

What's more, as we noted in this space recently, economic reports have suddenly started exceeding economic forecasts, after years of "unexpectedly" coming in below targets.

This optimism will flag if Trump isn't able to get his agenda through. And if that happens, blame rests with obstructionist Democrats, who apparently care more about damaging Trump's presidency than getting the economy back on track.

Even so, what all these Morning in America surveys reveal is the importance of focusing on tax cuts, deregulation, and spending restraint in Washington.

President Obama spent eight years peddling catchy phrases like "change you can believe in," "an economy built to last," "middle-class economics." But at the same time, he insisted that cutting taxes and deregulating the economy have "never worked." So he raised taxes, unleashed regulators, and disparaged the private sector. Businesses, in turn, hunkered down, not knowing what anti-business policy might emerge next from the administration.

The recent surge in optimism among job creators should be a clear enough rebuke to Obamanomics. And it should serve as a loud warning to those Democrats who are determined to stop Trump's pro-growth agenda.

It should also be front page news.

Click here to read the original article on the Investor's Business Daily website.

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