When business leaders feel good about the future, real people reap real benefits. A new Duke University survey released yesterday showed that business optimism is at a record high in the wake of tax reform law and its effects on the economy.

Because of this skyrocketing optimism, 40 percent of the companies that were surveyed plan to increase wages and 38 percent plan to boost hiring.

This isn't just theoretical. We're already seeing the business optimism turn into real benefits for workers.

The Dollar Tree said this week that it plans to pass along to its employees $100 million of the benefit it has received from the new tax reform law. The company will raise wages of hourly workers, give them more work hours and offer paid maternity leave. Costco also announced today that it will direct tax savings toward its workers and push compensation higher. They join the list of more than 400 companies passing on the benefits of tax reform to their employees and the U.S. economy. 

Later today, Speaker Ryan will visit the headquarters of Home Depot, one of these companies that has rewarded its employees with bonuses following tax reform. Watch live at 2:45 p.m. as Speaker Ryan talks tax reform, fields questions from Home Depot employees, and holds a press conference.

Finally, North Dakota joined the list of states receiving energy savings benefits from tax reform. North Dakota’s Otter Tail Power Co. and Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. announced that the tax reform law is the reason that it will request smaller interim rate increases. North Dakota Commissioner Julie Fedorchak told the West Fargo Pioneer that these smaller rate increases are a "tangible" example of the tax law's benefits and Commissioner Brian Kroshus said it is "fair to anticipate" North Dakota consumers will see some savings "regardless of who provides service to them."