"Trump gives a big bump to business confidence, McDonald Hopkins survey finds"

Business owners and executives are in an overwhelmingly positive mood about the state of the economy and their own enterprises, according to the seventh annual McDonald Hopkins Business Outlook Survey.

The reason, the Cleveland law firm says, is simple: President Donald Trump, who was cited by one survey respondent as "a positive game changer for the business community."

McDonald Hopkins says in a summary of the report that nearly 80% of the respondents believe U.S. business conditions will improve this year, compared with just 44% who said that in the year-ago survey predicting conditions for 2016.

In 2016, only 2% of respondents expected "significant improvement" in business conditions; this year, that figure is up to 19%. (You can read the full 2017 report here. The survey was conducted from Jan. 4 to Jan. 31.)

McDonald Hopkins reports that business owners and executives "are just as upbeat about their own organizations" as they are about the general state of the economy. For instance, 77% of respondents said they expect business conditions to improve at their companies, and 55% said they are likely to increase their number of employees this year. However, the firm said, 50% define attracting top talent as a significant business issue.

Among the survey's other findings:
  • 78% of respondents believe passage of comprehensive tax reform is important to their company. "Without tax reform across the board, business growth will be limited," one respondent told the firm.
  • From a list of 12 business challenges, the three greatest are retaining profit margins (41%); federal, state, and local regulations (41%); and stiff competition (40%). Increasing health care costs (37%) dropped to fourth place from first place last year.
  • Although data privacy and cybersecurity threats are a big concern for most companies, only 23% described their organization as very prepared.
Click here to see the original article from Crain's Cleveland Business. (subscription may be required)

Click here to request a copy of the full 2017 Business Outlook Survey Report

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