As we approach the end of 2019, major economic indicators show once again that pro-growth policies are working and have helped put millions of Americans back to work in communities all over our country. The November jobs report showed a remarkable 266,000 jobs were created in November — exceeding median expectations of about 185,000. To date, more than 7 million jobs have now been created since November 2016.
This positive economic news has given a boost to small merchants struggling to compete with online retailers, and tight labor markets seen in many parts of the nation. A good economy is great news for the real heroes of our communities — the small-business owner. The holiday shopping season is a critical time of year for small retailers. Many small businesses earn 50% or more of their annual revenues during the critical period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. All-the-more important when you factor in that small businesses create more than 65% of net new jobs nationwide.
Fortunately, entrepreneurs are taking advantage of this historic economy to not only hire employees but also reinvest in their businesses. According to the National Federation of Independent Business December jobs report, small-business optimism posted the largest month-over-month gain since May 2018, with many owners citing now as a good time to expand their operations as well as an expectation that their earnings will improve. Even more impressive, 30% of small-business owners reported raising compensation and 26 percent plan to do so in the coming months, the highest level since December 1989.
It’s not just small retailers that are benefiting from the administration’s economic policies. Since November 2016, 713,000 construction jobs have been created — an average of 20,000 per month and another 54,000 manufacturing jobs were added this November for a total of 524,000. These numbers once again demonstrate how pro-growth policies continue to defy the doubters and help put millions back to work.
Nationally, American workers have seen wages increase 3.1% over the prior 12 months.
Here is additional good news:
This is the 16th consecutive month that year-over-year wage growth has been at or above 3 percent.
Best of all, the unemployment rate dropped to 3.5 percent in November, matching its lowest point in half a century.
Americans of all backgrounds are thriving in today’s booming economy. The unemployment rate for African Americans hit a new record low of 5.1%, and the unemployment rate for Hispanic men plummeted to 3%, matching its record low.
The booming economy is helping millions of Americans get off the sidelines and back into the workforce.
The end of 2019 has brought some great economic news for the American people, and I’m especially encouraged to see the positive impact our strong economy is having on small retailers this holiday season. Many forecasters, including the National Retail Federation, forecast that holiday sales will rise to a new historic level of between 3.8 to 4.2%.
This is welcome news for the small businesses that make up the fabric of our local economies. Please join me in shopping at a locally owned small business in your town or city and happy New Year to you and your family from your friends at the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Dan Nordberg serves as the SBA’s Region VIII Administrator and is based in Denver. He oversees the agency’s programs and services in Colorado, Montana, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.