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Small Business Owners Cautiously Optimistic About Their Performance

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 10/1/2009

Small business owners reported higher optimism levels in terms of their own companies, and slightly improved outlooks for the economy as a whole.

Despite the recent improvements in unemployment, GDP and other economic indicators that have been filling the news, for small business owners the economy remains in a precarious position, according to the PNC Economic Outlook survey of small business owners released Thursday.

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The survey found that 96 percent of small business owners believe the economy has not yet begun to improve, while 49 percent believe the economic recovery is more than a year away. This is an improvement, however, over the 65 percent recorded last spring.

Yet when it came to their own company's outlook, small business owners report higher levels of optimism and confidence.

The survey found that 25 percent of respondents are pessimistic about their company's outlooks, down from 36 percent in the spring.

"With this decline in pessimism, it could be said that going down less is the new 'up'," said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist for PNC Financial Services Group. "These new findings support PNC's forecast that the U.S. economy has started a moderate U-shaped recovery that will continue throughout at least 2010."

A study released last week by Chase Card Services found even higher company-centric optimism, reporting that 76 percent of small business owners expect their company's performance to improve in the next three to six months.

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