Though the general election is still almost a year away, some Florida business owners are cautious about the “unknowns” of the 2020 election.
“Some of our Florida members do have some concerns about the 2020 elections, not only about who will be the next president but who will control Congress and the Senate,” said Bill Herrle, the executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) in Florida.
Business surveys taken this year show some companies, including a large segment of manufacturers, have slowed down the process of expansion and have cut back on investments.
“It’s unfortunate, but it’s to be expected especially with the U.S.-China trade war,” said Steve Beaman of the Alliance of Independent Business.
Former state Rep. Lake Ray, now the president of the First Coast Manufacturers Association where he has been since 2011, said, when it comes to the business community and the uncertainty of a presidential election, history shows this is not a new phenomenon.
Ray said back in 2016, surveys of Florida business owners showed they were holding back on expanding and hiring, in part, because of concerns about the election that year. Comparing the growth of Florida manufacturing in recent years, Ray said manufacturers in the Sunshine State have done better under President Donald Trump than they did under then-President Barack Obama. Ray added that manufacturers may hold off on expansion if they think Democrats could win the White House.
But business groups aren’t the only ones eyeing the economics of the 2020 election. Consumers are also keeping a close watch.
Beaman said, in 2016, many Americans held off from buying big-ticket items like cars but, after Trump won, the automobile industry rebounded.
Consumer confidence surveys in Florida and throughout the U.S. show Americans think the economy is on a bit of a roller coaster–and it might get bumpier if a Democrat wins next year.
“It could be like the perfect storm,” Beaman said. “If stock markets numbers drop, consumer confidence drops, business expansion drops. Then it may reveal that Democrats could win in 2020.”
Beaman said the market is setting record highs but mulled over what could happen if the Democrats win next year.
“I don’t think we would be seeing these high numbers,” Beaman said.
Beaman and other financial experts said next summer’s economic numbers will be important in next year’s election.
Reach Ed Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org.