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Poll: Small biz confidence falls in July

Small business owners’ economic confidence fell for the second month in July as a higher percentage of smalldiscover1 business owners rated the current economy as poor and see it only getting worse, according to the Discover Small Business Watch. The index dropped to 83 in July from 86.1 in June. It has been below 83 only once since the beginning of the year.

In July, 58% of small business owners rated the economy as poor, up from 51% in June, while 7% rated the economy as excellent or good, down from 12% in June.

“Even though cash flow issues eased off in July, small business owners still aren’t feeling any positive effects from anything going on in the bigger economy,” said Ryan Scully, director of Discover’s business card, who commissions the monthly research. “They’ll be holding back their economic enthusiasm until they have tangible evidence that their bottom lines are improving.”

The poll also revealed that 97% of small business owners did not apply for stimulus-funded SBA loans in the past year even though 50% were in favor of the expansion of an SBA loan program last year and 31% said they would consider applying for funds.

Despite so few small business owners taking advantage of the SBA program in the past year, 27% of small business owners said they would apply should more funding be made available in the next six months, while 65% would not apply and 8% weren’t sure.

The Discover Small Business Watch is a monthly index measuring the relative economic confidence of U.S. small business owners who have less than five employees, a segment that consists of 22 million businesses producing more than a trillion dollars in annual receipts. The Watch is based on a national random survey of 750 small business owners. It is commissioned by Discover Business card

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