Indiana: Is Trump the reason for 90% small business optimism?

Main Street in Elkhart, Indiana, one of the top states for small business optimism. 

Main Street in Elkhart, Indiana, one of the top states for small business optimism. 

Highlights:

  • Indiana ranks #4 nationally for small business optimism
  • Top reason for optimism: election of a new U.S. president
  • However, optimism isn’t leading to strong hiring intent

Indiana small business owners are among the most confident in the nation right now. According to new data from Womply, 90% report feeling optimistic about their prospects this year (compared to 70% nationally) and only 8% feel pessimistic (compared to 13% nationally). In fact, Indiana has 12 optimistic merchants for every pessimistic one, ranking the Hoosier State #4 nationally for optimism ratio.

What’s behind all those good feelings? Two words: Donald Trump.

Asked what’s driving their confidence, optimistic small business owners in Indiana overwhelmingly said the election of a new U.S. president. That’s not surprising, given Trump’s landslide win to claim Indiana’s 11 electoral votes last fall, and the fact that according to our survey, a whopping 71% of local merchants voted for Trump as the 45th U.S. president.

So, Trump’s election is spurring remarkable optimism among Indiana’s small businesses. Trouble is, that positive energy isn’t likely to have quite as remarkable an impact on the state’s economy. Only 20% of Indiana merchants plan to add staff this year (#31 nationally), which is a departure from the national trend of strong optimism translating into strong hiring intent.

It’s possible that Indiana’s small businesses are taking a wait-and-see approach as major policy issues unfold. We asked respondents to rank their biggest worries, and health insurance and tax concerns were top issues in Indiana. Perhaps resolutions to looming battles over federal tax and healthcare reform in Washington, D.C., will encourage Indiana merchants to take actions that add value to the state economy, like hiring, increasing employee pay, and business expansion.  

There’s a lot at stake in Indiana, where a half-million small businesses employ 1.2 million people. The good news: spirits are high, at least for now. Read our full report below.

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