Small Business Optimism at All-Time High

August 8, 2018

Survey results from the Wells Fargo/Gallup poll released this week indicate that small business optimism is the highest it has ever been in the 15-year history of the survey.

The results revealed a +118 overall index score for the third quarter, which is higher than the previous record set in 2006 of +114. The survey follows last week’s news from the Commerce Department that the U.S. economy grew 4.1 percent in the second quarter, outperforming an average growth rate of 2.3 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012 through the first quarter of this year.

The survey results also indicated the following:

  • Current financial situation -- 78% of small-business owners rate it as very or somewhat good, compared with 73% in the second quarter of 2018.
  • Cash flow in the past 12 months -- 69% rate it as very or somewhat good, versus 63% in the second quarter.
  • Cash flow expectations in the next 12 months -- 77% very or somewhat good, compared with 72% last quarter.
  • Credit availability in the next 12 months -- 49% say it will be very or somewhat easy to get credit, versus 44% in the second quarter.

Survey participants indicated that finding and retaining qualified workers is a problem, with nearly 20 percent of respondents indicating that this is their top concern.

The survey also revealed that 80 percent of the small business owners said that their businesses did not currently compete with large e-commerce companies and retailers. 
Some small business owners did say that they are continuing to increase their digital presence to compete in an increasingly digital marketplace. Some 54 percent of the  respondents said they are at least somewhat likely to increase their online and social media marketing efforts over the next 12 months.​​