The important work that the U.S. Small Business Administration does was validated by the president in his recent State of the Union address. I believe President Trump articulated an inspiring vision of American greatness. His speech was brimming with optimism, deeply patriotic and unifying. The president laid out an ambitious and bold agenda against the backdrop of the recent remarkable jobs report that further showcases how good policies put forward by the president and the administration are having impactful results. Entrepreneurs know the economy is front and center to our national leadership. A strong national economy allows small business owners to confidently make critical decisions such as hiring new employees, buying new inventory, or expanding into a second or third location.

The economic facts are looking pretty good right now for small business expansion. The most recent jobs report showed 304,000 new jobs created last month - a total of 5.3 million new jobs under this president. Nationally, we saw six consecutive months of wage growth at or above three percent. Wages are at an 11-year high with average hourly earnings rising by 3.2 percent in January. We have seen 11 straight months of unemployment at or below four percent - including record low levels among women, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans, youth and blue-collar workers. There is a manufacturing comeback with more than half a million new manufacturing jobs created under Trump. Finally, and most important to the SBA, small business optimism has risen to one of the highest levels in history. Last fiscal year alone, more than 72,000 small business loans, worth $30 billion, were approved by the SBA nationwide.

I commend the president for offering a framework for bipartisan cooperation. Trump outlined a common sense, inclusive agenda for improving the quality of life for all Americans. As the president noted, some of the most extraordinary accomplishments of the past two years occurred as a result of bipartisan cooperation. Examples include the recent Criminal Justice Reform bill and bipartisan legislation to fight the opioid epidemic.

The president laid out a road map for expanded prosperity and greater security. He identified five critically important policy priorities that will expand prosperity in America, and promote peace at home and abroad. This agenda include safe and legal immigration, protecting American workers with fair trade policies, rebuilding America by advocating for an infrastructure package that invests in vital national infrastructure projects, lowering the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs, and strengthening national security.

I am proud that the president’s State of the Union address pushed an ambitious and bold agenda. Small business continues to drive our nation’s economy, and having a strong positive message presented by our President creates an environment that is good for business, especially for the entrepreneurial community.