On the one hand, the numbers look good. Unemployment is 3.7 percent. Interest rates are going up, but they're still historically low. And more people are starting businesses and keeping them afloat than we've seen in decades.
So why are people so pessimistic, even among groups you might imagine would be more sanguine? Case in point: Two separate surveys reveal small business owners aren't feeling particularly enthusiastic about the near future.
According to the National Federation of Independent Business, optimism among entrepreneurs fell again in November for the third consecutive month due to worry over slowing economic growth and slowing sales. Meanwhile, the Kauffman Foundation's recent national survey found that most entrepreneurs think that the Trump administration is doing more for large corporations than for small businesses.
Next month, the 2020 presidential campaign season will begin in earnest, and so these takes on the economy will start to become more than academic. If people ultimately vote with their pocketbooks, and if entrepreneurs vote with an eye toward whether the climate will likely benefit their businesses, that could mean more upheaval in Washington.
Here's what else I'm reading today:
One of these things is not like the others: Netflix, Spotify, and your car
Let this sink in: Volvo recently launched a car subscription service nationwide in Germany, with monthly prices ranging from €498 to €929 ($564 to $1,052). Ford already offers subscriptions in San Francisco and Los Angeles starting at $405 per month. The idea is to make cars feasible for young drivers who don't want to make long-term investments (or can't afford them).
--Stefan Nicola, Bloomberg Businesweek
Shark Tank is a decade old and still inspirational
Shark Tank's tenth year was packed with memorable moments. One particularly emotional pitch involving sibling co-founders pitching their late father's invention caused the Sharks--and plenty of viewers--to cry. In a special Shark Week episode, the Sharks actually swam with real sharks (and we had to see Kevin O'Leary in a tuxedo-printed wetsuit). Time to relive the top seven moments from the show's standout year.
--Emily Canal, Inc.
Why it's always smart to double-check your email settings
Does the mere mention of a Reply All button send you into a nervous breakdown? Probably, if you work for the state government of Utah--where 22,000 employees were subjected to a hilariously inadvertent reply-all-pocalypse on Friday. The situation quickly spiraled, with people using the Reply All function to advise everyone else to, uh, stop replying all. We've been using email for decades and we still can't get Reply All right.
--Julie Turkewitz, The New York Times
With investors like these, who needs enemies?
It's well-documented that women and minority entrepreneurs receive a dismally small portion of available venture capital. A new report from Morgan Stanley reveals a new--and depressing--explanation as to why: most investors believe they're getting enough money already.
--Kimberly Weisul, Inc.
Silicon Valley could soon be a little more normal
For more than 50 years, we've been able to trust in a maxim: computing power would double roughly every two years, because the number of transistors that could fit on a microchip woud double at that rate. And it worked--until recently, when it didn't. That means that the era of hyperfast innovation in Silicon Valley might be at an end, and that the tech industry could ultimately reach the point where it's sort of like every other industry, growing perhaps, but at much more down to earth rate.
--Jeff Bercovici, Inc.