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Optimism in small business

Small businesses across the country seem optimistic about their future despite lingering concerns about the health of the national economy.

MetLife and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released their first Small Business Index this week, and the survey found nearly one-third of respondents plan to hire more employees in the coming year, while 6 percent expect to reduce their staff size. Similarly, 60 percent project increased revenue in the next year, while 9 percent forecast a revenue decline.

The survey is based on telephone interviews with 1,000 small-business owners and operators throughout the U.S.

The overall index score of 60.6 for the first survey indicates 60.6 percent of small-business owners have a positive outlook for their company and the environment in which they operate.

This is encouraging, as small businesses are crucial to the health of local economies. However, as with most things, the optimism isn’t at the same level in every region of the country.

Small-business owners in the Northeast are slightly less positive about the U.S. economy, their local economies and the likelihood their revenues will increase in the next year.

Overall, 33 percent of small-business owners felt the U.S. economy is in very good or somewhat good shape, while 25 percent felt it is in very poor or somewhat poor shape.

In the Northeast, however, respondents were split fairly equally between very good/somewhat good and very poor/somewhat poor (roughly 30 percent on each side).

The difference is starker when talking about local economies—42 percent of small-business owners across the country felt very good or somewhat good about their local economy, while only 31 percent felt the same way in the Northeast.

And when it comes to revenue, 54 percent of respondents in the Northeast expect an increase, compared with 60 percent countrywide.

So while this week’s report is encouraging overall, there is work to be done in New York and the Northeast.

(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-363-7269 or email madams@bridgetowermedia.com.

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