Businesses Optimistic About Economy Under Trump

There’s more evidence of a robust U.S. economy – and optimism for even better times ahead.

Amid all the partisan dissection of President Trump’s Tuesday night address, a survey that essentially gauges the U.S. economy’s own state of the union, so to speak, points to bipartisan success.

Optimism is seen in the latest survey by the National Association for Business Economics of more than 100 leading companies.

Companies say business sales and profits are up and the wages of workers are rising.

The survey found that 63 percent of companies expect to increase sales, and three times as many expect hiring to increase rather than decrease.

The economic good cheer reflects that the economy is growing at a 2.6 percent annual rate or better, of late. Also, unemployment is being seen at the lowest levels of the 21st century.

Nationally, the job market is so healthy that businesses say that finding skilled workers is the hardest it's been in nearly 10 years.

The results show “widespread sales and profit gains in the fourth quarter of 2017, but also notable increases in materials costs, wages, and shortages of skilled labor,” said NABE Vice President Kevin Swift in a summary of the January survey results. “The panel’s outlook for growth in the overall economy over the next four quarters surpasses the relatively positive assessments of the past few quarterly surveys. Compared to the near-term outlook three months ago, more firms expect increases in the next three months in their firms’ profits, employment and capital spending. However, optimism regarding sales in the first quarter of 2018 is less widespread than it has been since 2016.

He added that the labor pool is tightening lately.

“More respondents report that their firms are hiring -- and having trouble filling positions than in the October survey,” Swift said.

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