Green shoots — where!?

April 27, 2009

Small business owners in the U.S. may be pleased to hear that some of their brethren are feeling a bit more optimistic about the future. The fresh sliver of positive news arrived in inboxes across the country Monday and shows confidence among small business owners in the U.S. appears to be headed up, albeit not entirely out of the gutter.

The Discover Financial Services survey, part of its Small Business Watch program, shows the number of small business owners who see the broader U.S. economy improving jumped to 31 percent in April, up from 16 percent in March. That’s the highest level for that measure in two years.

While the survey showed some small business owners growing more optimistic, 51 percent still see worse economic times ahead. And the pessimism doesn’t stop there. A whopping 91 percent of small business owners rated the current U.S. economy as “poor” or “fair,” and that’s the measure that’s stayed constant for the last eight months.

With 46 percent of small business owners planning to cut spending on business development in the next six months and those aiming to increase it staying put at 21 percent, the survey’s not exactly a loud and boisterous “All’s clear!” declaration. Still, baby steps may be the best we can hope for at the moment.

(Photo: Small business owner Bob Walk of Walk In and Out Printing, loads his truck for deliveries from his shop in Tucker, Georgia in this February 24, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Tami Chappell)

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