Sometimes, I’m not quite sure how to take this year. Wall Street is up, down, makes strong gains one day, sends confusing signals the next. We hear about uncertainty about where the global economy will finish as 2019 draws to a close and we just got started.

My hope is that interest rates are kept at bay. Much of what propelled the economy in the past few years has been a steady supply of money at attractive interest rates (some will say “cheap” money, but that’s such a dirty word, isn’t it?)

When I want a real measure of how the economy is doing, I look to small business. The most recent NFIB Small Business Survey, which has tracked small business trends since 1973, shows current optimism at levels seen around the time of the Reagan administration. (In other words, sentiment is high.)

“Optimism among small business owners continues to push record highs, but they need workers to generate more sales, provide services and complete projects,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita D. Duggan. “Two of every three of these new jobs are historically created by the small business half of the economy, so it will be Main Street that will continue to drive economic growth.”

Many of those small businesses are automotive parts stores, warehouses, many small- and medium-sized manufacturers and repair shops, just to name a few. When the economy is doing well, people are more confident, drive more and are more likely to get those repairs done that they might otherwise have delayed. Now is a great time in the automotive aftermarket.

Wall Street might get the big headlines, but when Main Street talks, it means everyone should pay attention. And right now, it says things are good.

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