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Discover Small Business Watch: Optimism Falls, Gas Worries Abound

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 3/28/2011

The Discover Small Business Watch marks a decrease in sector optimism.

Struggling small business optimism isn't exactly breaking entrepreneur news. However, new factors have arisen that may make it even more difficult to improve confidence.

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According to the Discover Small Business Watch survey, released on Monday, confidence among small business owners dropped from 90.2 in February to 86.5 in March.

One of the main factors affecting this sector is a hike in gas prices. In fact, 76 percent of respondents said the rise in prices at the pump is harming the profitability of their businesses. Furthermore, 90 percent of those respondents said it is having a "somewhat negative" or "very negative" impact on their business' wallets.

According to U.S. News and World Report, U.S. gas prices spiked by an average of 40 cents in March alone, making it imperative for travel-heavy businesses and industries to find alternatives to petroleum.

"Our surveys have shown that the economic events of the recent past have hit small businesses hard, and many are still struggling to sustain an individual recovery of their own," said Ryan Scully, director of Discover's business credit card, in a statement. "Nearly a third of small business owners told us they have contemplated going out of business sometime during the past two months, which is up from spring of 2008." 

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