Business People Working Together

Small-Business Owner Optimism Strong Amid Economic Concerns

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Small-business owners’ optimism continues to edge up in 2019. In the latest quarterly Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index survey, conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 4, the overall index is at +142, up from +136 in July and +129 in April. The index is a measure of owners’ present and future optimism — both of which saw modest upticks this quarter.

The Small Business Index measures small-business owners’ attitudes about a wide variety of factors affecting their business. The rise in the overall score this quarter is driven by modest improvements across most of the index items, rather than a significant improvement on any single dimension.

Additionally, when owners are asked a broad question about their financial outlook “for your business” over the next year, 77% say they are more optimistic than pessimistic — similar to the 79% recorded last quarter and up modestly from 70% in Quarter 2.

Although small-business owners remain very optimistic, their confidence in the overall economy, while still strong, has shown some signs of erosion. Sixty-three percent say the current state of the U.S. economy is excellent or good. This is down somewhat from 70% in July’s Quarter 3 poll but on par with Quarter 2, when 63% rated the economy as excellent or good.


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