National Holiday of Thanksgiving
In the midst of the Civil War in 1863, by proclamation President Lincoln scheduled a national holiday of Thanksgiving. Here’s an excerpt from the proclamation:
I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea, and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.
Since then, Thanksgiving has come to mean a time when families get together and feast, when holiday shoppers become poised for great deals, and when communities remember through food drives and free dinners those who are less fortunate. The following is an update of a previous blog, reflecting economic conditions today.
As a small business owner in America today, there’s also much to be grateful for
According to NFIB’s October 2019 Report: Small Business Optimism Index, which was released on November 12, small business optimism remains strong:
- Labor. Small businesses continued to create jobs. Sixty percent reported hiring or trying to hire, but 53% percent (88% of those hiring or trying to hire) reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill (unchanged). Twenty-five percent of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their Single Most Important Business Problem.
- Sales and inventories. Actual sales volumes have been steady, but there is significant uncertainty about the future. But there’s no increase in the percentage of owners planning to invest more in inventory.
- Capital spending. Fifty-nine percent reported capital outlays (and 40% of these spend on new equipment). About 30% reported a negative impact from trade policy.
- Inflation. On balance, inflationary pressures are weak on Main Street. Nonetheless, a net 21% plan price hikes (primarily in the retail trades and construction).
- Compensation and earnings. The percent of small businesses planning to raise compensation is a net 22%. Firms are likely to continue to offer improved compensation to attract and retain qualified workers because it is the only solution in the short term to attract new workers.
- Credit markets. A small percentage (3%) of owners said their credit needs were not met. The Fed’s most recent interest rate cut will lower borrowing costs but may make banks less willing to make longer term loans.
As Ernest Hemingway said:
“Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.”