National Group Optimistic About Small Business, Economic Growth | WGLT

National Group Optimistic About Small Business, Economic Growth

Dec 16, 2016

J.D. Foster at the Holiday Inn & Suites Bloomington - Airport to speak at an economic vision luncheon.
Credit Mike Miletich / WGLT

There has been a surge of small business optimism coming out of the presidential election. That's according to U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chief Economist J.D. Foster.

Foster said small businesses have been reluctant to invest and hire because of policies coming from the Obama administration. Foster said businesses feel the federal government won't be such an oppressive force under President Elect Donald Trump. 

"That's what has been lacking in our economy for the most part, growth in business investment," said Foster. "If businesses are feeling more confident about the future and they start investing, maybe we can finally get our economy growing properly."

Foster said Bloomington-Normal can be a "poster child" with small business growth, but there is also a bigger problem in Illinois.

"While things are improving at the federal level, you still have problems with your state government and all the turmoil going on there. That's another source of uncertainty and concern that you have to deal with here that folks in Ohio, or Indiana, or neighboring states don't have to necessarily deal with."

Foster said the federal influence should be more conducive to economic growth than it has in the past. Foster also said income should be rising in 2017. He said debt might go up as well if people have financial investments or buy more homes. 

Foster said problems usually occur when debt is growing without income increasing. 

"As long as the economy stays roughly in balance as it accelerates, then we will be in good shape. Fortunately, today there are no major imbalances that we can detect, so there's no domestic threats that you can point to that say, 'That's the source of our next problem. That's the source of our next recession.'" 

Foster said the country shouldn't have to deal worry about a recession occurring anytime soon. He said if there is a problem with the economy, it will come from overseas. 

"Whether it's Europe and a euro crisis or China, or something in geopolitics, shocks happen. Bad things happen in the world and sometimes they have major effects on our economy. None of these seem eminent, but something is going to happen at some point."