It makes sense that anxiety about the economy is at a peak on Wall Street, since the market is at an all-time high and the conventional wisdom holds that bull markets climb a “wall of worry.”
Indeed, a Monday research note from Bank of America Merrill Lynch well captures this fear, calling for investors to boost their cash reserves and gold ownership, and warning: “…[T]he investment backdrop will likely continue to be cursed by mediocre returns, volatile trading rotation, correlation breakdowns and flash crashes,” quotes Bloomberg.
But far down from the economy’s commanding heights and toward its grassroots—the 90%-plus of U.S. businesses which have five or fewer employees—sentiment is quite cheerful.
That is the finding of a new economic sentiment indicator that the same Bloomberg will be releasing on a monthly basis, starting now, in conjunction with Thumbtack.com, a site that helps consumers get bids from its network of over 150,000 local painters, math tutors and even financial advisors.
The partnership seeks to exploit Thumbtack’s unique access to Main Street’s mom and pop business owners.
“We are excited to be able to reveal this new survey, which will capture the sentiment of over ten thousand small service providers nationwide on a monthly basis,” said Jon Lieber, Chief Economist of Thumbtack, in a statement.
“Many of these businesses have few or no employees, and are often overlooked in other widely tracked business surveys. We hope by drawing attention to them we can offer new insights into what’s happening in a part of the American economy that is difficult to study.”
And what’s happening on Main Streets across America—but most particularly in the South and Midwest, the survey reveals—is largely positive right now.
The new survey reflects an economy in recovery, with 25% fewer businesses citing “uncertain economic conditions” as their chief worry for the future and more than 80% of business owners expecting increased revenue in the next three months.
The debut survey—for the month of April—found the cheerful outlook spread across the country, though the positivity was more muted in the West and Northeast.