New Wells Fargo Survey: Small Business Optimism Declines on Concerns for the Future but Remains in Positive Territory
The Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index declined six points to positive 17 in a survey conducted July 9 – July 13, 2012. This decline virtually erases gains experienced earlier this year and brings to light the lingering concerns business owners have about their future financial situation, revenue, and cash flow.
The number of business owners expecting to be in a good financial position over the next 12 months declined seven percentage points to 59 percent; those expecting increased revenues in the next 12 months declined by six percentage points to 43. Despite the decline in the Index score this quarter, business owner optimism has improved significantly from the Recession low point when the Index dipped to minus 28 (-28) in Q3 2010.
This quarter’s survey also included questions to gauge business owner attitudes about capital spending. Fifty-three percent of business owners say they have made capital investments over the past 12 months, with the majority (70 percent) purchasing new equipment or machinery. A smaller percentage of business owners – 41 percent – say they plan to make capital investments in the next 12 months. The number one reason cited for not making an investment was concern about the overall state of the economy.
“Business owners have a lot of unknowns in front of them today,” said Doug Case, Wells Fargo small business segment manager. “This is the first drop in the Index this year and it seems to correlate to the lower percentage of business owners planning to invest in their companies in the year ahead. In the survey, businesses said they’ll be more likely to invest in their businesses when they see improvements in their operating environment, and better sales and revenues.”