Main Street Monday – Small Business Owners Optimism Down Slightly

May 6, 2019

By Mary Miller
Contributing Editor, Main Street Monday

Main Street Monday – Small Business Owners Optimism Down Slightly

In the semi-annual survey of small business owners released by Bank of America, it indicates a slight decline in optimism levels.

Of 1,504 small business owners surveyed, here are the stats:

  • 48% predicted the national economy will improve over the next year (down from 55% from the survey last fall).
  • 51% predicted an improvement in the local economy (down from 54% from the previous survey).

These stats coincide with results from recent surveys from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Wells Fargo, Capital One and MetLife.

Overall survey results indicated that plans to create new jobs increased from 22% to 24%. However, the Bank of America survey showed a smaller number of owners who planned to create new jobs.

Other findings from the Bank of America survey indicate:

  • 67% of small business owners planned to expand their business in the next year, down from 69% from a survey taken the previous year.
  • 56% indicated that they planned to expand over the next five years, down from 60% from the previous year.

Nearly two-thirds of survey participants indicated their top economic concerns centered around the nation’s political environment, second only to rising health care costs.

Nearly 50% of survey participants cited rising interest rates, recent stock market fluctuations and uncertainty surrounding consumer spending as contributing factors to their economic concerns.

Another contributing factor to decreased optimism levels was disappoint in the new tax law:

  • 28% reported that the new tax policy has been positive for their businesses, compared to last year, when 45% predicted the new tax law would create a positive boost for business.
  • 50% indicated the tax policy didn’t have much of an impact on their businesses, up from 39% who predicted a neutral impact.
  • 21% said the tax policy had a negative impact on their companies, up from 15% from last year’s survey.

All signs point to small business optimism levels dipping slightly regarding expectations for the economy.