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Poll: Small biz economic confidence jumps

America’s small business owners expressed higher economic hopes in January, largely due to increaseddiscover1 expectations that conditions for their own businesses would improve in the next six months, according to the Discover Small Business Watch. The Watch index jumped to 85.5 from 77.0 in December.

More small business owners are planning to increase business development spending over the next six months, with 25% noting they will spend more on activities such as advertising, inventories and capital expenditures. This number is up from 18% in December. Further, 28% plan to make no changes, while 45% will decrease spending, down from 51% in December.

“We measure small business insights and expectations about the larger economy as well as on the local level, so it’s good to see confidence rise on Main Street,” said Ryan Scully, director of Discover’s business credit card. “January showed us the first month-to-month increase since August in the number of small business owners who plan to increase spending on business development. Self-investment is a healthy sign in the small business economy.”

Other January Indicators:

  • 29% of small business owners see conditions for their own businesses getting better in the next six months, an improvement from 22% in December and 19% in November; 43% see conditions getting worse, 23% expect things to stay the same, and 4% aren’t sure.
  • The number of small business owners who think the economy is getting better rose to 31% in January, up from 25% last month; 46% see the economy getting worse, down from 49% in December; 18% see the economy staying the same and 4% are not sure.
  • 8% rate the economy as good or excellent, up from 4% in December; 34% rate the current economy as fair, and 58% rate it as poor.
  • 51% of owners have experienced cash flow issues in the past 90 days, unchanged from December; 46% of owners have not experienced cash flow issues, and 3% are not sure.

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