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Small Business Optimism Hits an 8-Year High

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2017 could bring lots of hiring.

Small business owners are the most optimistic they have been since January 2008, according to the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index.

Forty-five percent of respondents in the quarterly survey conducted Nov. 11-17 said they expect the operating environment for their business will be better in 2017.

And 36 percent expect the number of jobs at their company to increase a little or a lot over the next 12 months, up from 21 percent in July. That’s the highest reading in the 13-year history of the survey. Other key findings:

  • More than half (58 percent) expect their revenue to increase a little or a lot in the next 12 months, up from 48 percent in July.
  • Seventy percent believe their cash flow will be somewhat or very good in the next 12 months, up from 65 percent in July.
  • Thirty-five percent say they plan to increase their capital spending a lot or a little, up from 25 percent in July.

“The latest overall Index score tells us that business owners are feeling positive about the future and have a renewed sense of confidence as they look to the year ahead,” said Mark Vitner, managing director and senior economist for Wells Fargo Securities. “Not only do small business owners report that the operating environment for their businesses will be better in 2017 than it was in 2016, but business owners are anticipating growth for their businesses in the new year as more plan to increase their capital spending, add staff and apply for credit.”

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A little more than half of respondents (51 percent) think that actions taken by the new president and Congress next year will make their businesses better off. At the same time, 17 percent think their businesses will be worse off and 26 percent think the actions will have no effect.

Read more from Wells Fargo

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