Gallup: Small-Business Confidence is Improving

Tuesday, 04 Sep 2012 07:39 AM

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Small businesses are growing increasingly confident in their chances of succeeding, a Gallup poll finds.

U.S. small-business-owner satisfaction shot up to 39 in the third quarter of 2012, compared with 26 in the same quarter two years ago, according to a recent Wells Fargo-Gallup Small Business Index poll.

The survey did not ask the question in the third quarter of 2011.

Editor's Note: Unthinkable Haunts Investors: Evidence for Imminent 90% Stock Market Drop. 

The quarterly survey found that 55 percent of small-business owners said they were either extremely (17 percent) or very (38 percent) satisfied, while 16 percent said they were not too (10 percent) or not at all (6 percent) satisfied.

Another 29 percent of owners are somewhat satisfied.

"Despite the challenges small-business owners face, 55 percent are extremely or very satisfied with being a business owner and another 29 percent are somewhat satisfied, for a combined 84 percent saying they are satisfied to some degree with being a small-business owner," Gallup reported.

"Of course, small-business-owner satisfaction is self-defined. For example, some owners may base their satisfaction on growth and profits. Others may include the freedom to be their own boss and/or the ability to serve their communities and create jobs as part of their satisfaction with being a small-business owner."

Consumers, meanwhile, are showing a little more optimism in today's economy as well.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's final reading on overall consumer sentiment for August rose to 74.3, its highest since May, Reuters reported.

Consumers have been paying down debts and now feel better about their financial well-being.

"Rather than citing income changes, consumers were more likely to cite favorable shifts in the amount of their outstanding debt and the value of their assets," survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement.

Still, consumers still remain concerned over the economy's future.

"These improvements, however, did not extend into the future, as their financial prospects for the year ahead remained unchanged at negative levels," Curtin said.

"The majority of consumers anticipated no wage gains in the year ahead, and the majority expected falling inflation-adjusted incomes. Perhaps more distressing, half reported that their financial situation was now worse than it was five years ago, and half expected no improvement in the next five years."

The survey's forward-looking gauge of consumer expectations fell to 65.1 in August from 65.6 in July, the lowest level since December 2001.

"Currently, a major source of uncertainty is about when the fiscal cliff will be bridged, and who will bear the burden of the tax increases and the spending cutbacks," Curtin said.

At the end of 2012, tax breaks including the Bush-era tax cuts expire while automatic cuts to government spending are scheduled to kick in, a combination known as a "fiscal cliff" that could send the country back into recession if Congress fails to act.

"This uncertainty will increasingly cause consumers to become more cautious spenders. While some worry about the negative impact on spending from upper income consumers, the spending of every worker is threatened by the end of the payroll tax cuts in January."

Editor's Note: Unthinkable Haunts Investors: Evidence for Imminent 90% Stock Market Drop. 


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