Small business outlook

A strong argument can be made that our economy is really run by small businesses. Often the economic conditions for large and small businesses differ. So what are small businesses saying about the economy? Are they more or less optimistic? N.C. State University economist Mike Walden answers.

“Small business really took a big hit during the recession. The good news is that we have seen the level of optimism among small businesses gradually go up. In fact the latest reading we have (for November) shows that an optimism index for small businesses hit its highest level in three years.

“More small businesses today are saying it is a good time to expand. Earnings are up, sales are up, more of them are able to get loans. So this is all good, but we shouldn’t make too much of it. Overall economic conditions for small businesses are still worse than they were prior to the recession.

“So I think the bottom line here is that things are getting better, yes, for small businesses on many fronts, but we are still not back to where we were. And they are still not back to where they were prior to the recession.”

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