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The Current Economic and Hiring Climate for Small Businesses

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Small business owners are optimistic about their current business situation as well as the outlook for the next 12 months, according to recent research from Gallup and Wells Fargo.

The report was based on data from a poll conducted between April 3 and 7, 2017, among 603 US small business owners in all 50 states. Respondents were asked to rate how they feel about their overall financial situation, revenue, cash flow, capital spending, hiring, and credit access now and for the next 12 months.

The researchers then determined an overall Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index score based on the survey responses (-50 equaling no confidence in the business climate; +150 equaling total confidence).

The index score for the April survey was +95, down slightly from +100 in February but up significantly from a year ago (+64)—and the highest level since the Great Recession.

Small business owners are particularly optimistic about their finances, with 73% saying their current financial situation is very good or somewhat good.


Nearly half of small business owners (46%) say their revenue increased over the past 12 months, and 63% say their cash flow has been very good or somewhat good over the past 12 months.

Some 31% of small business owners plan to hire additional staff in next 12 months, and only 6% think they will reduce their staff size in the next 12 months.

More than half (52%) of small business owners say they have difficulty finding qualified people to apply for jobs at their business, and 32% say they struggle with applicants' being either overqualified or underqualified for open positions.

About the research: The report was based on data from a poll conducted between April 3 and 7, 2017, among 603 US small business owners in all 50 states. Respondents were asked to rate how they feel about their overall financial situation, revenue, cash flow, capital spending, hiring, and credit access now and for the next 12 months.


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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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