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Survey: Small biz economic confidence stalls

Small business confidence in the economy fell for three consecutive months, but is now stalled, according to the Discover Small Business Watch. The monthly index rose from 73 in August to 73.8 in September after falling 14.4 points since May.

The report says fewer small business owners are reporting cash-flow issues than they did in August.

“While the recession is technically over, large numbers of small businesses owners say they won’t see true recovery for at least six more months,” said Ryan Scully, director of Discover’s business card. “Three quarters of them were hurt by the downturn, which affects their ability to add jobs, build inventory, or re-invest in their businesses.”

Forty-six percent of small business owners report having cash flow issues this month, down from 53% in August; 50% said they do not have cash flow issues and 5% aren’t sure.

Despite this, a record 68% of small business owners rate the economy poor, up from 62% in August; 26% rate it fair; 4% rate it good; and only 2% rate it excellent.

In September, intentions for spending on business development in the next six months produced two record numbers. A record low 16% of small business owners plan to increase spending, down a percentage point from last month’s then record low of 17%. Fifty-seven percent of small business owners report plans to decrease spending, the highest in the history of the Watch, while 24% report no changes to their spending plans and 3% aren’t sure.

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