Small business optimism drops: Survey

Small business owner
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Confidence among small business owners has dropped significantly since January, a Wells Fargo/Gallup survey released Monday said.

The Wells Fargo/ Gallup Small Business Index, a measure of optimism, dropped from 71 in January to 64 in April, Wells Fargo said. It was the first significant decrease since November 2012. The survey questioned 601 small business owners.

Last April, the score was 47.

"The latest Index scores show that while small business owners are in a better place now than a year ago, some still face challenges in this economic environment," Lisa Stevens, Wells Fargo's head of small business, said in a statement.

Factors contributing to the decline include lower revenues and a dip in credit expectations from small business owners, Wells Fargo said. In the April survey. 42 percent of small business owners reported that their company's revenues increased over the past 12 months, down from 49 percent in January, the bank said.

The survey also found that 30 percent of small business owners thought it was "easy" or "somewhat easy" to obtain credit when needed in April, down from 34 percent in January.

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Still, 58 percent of small business owners reported they found their company's cash flow was "very good" or "somewhat good," the highest percentage since the first quarter of 2008, the survey said.

"A decline in revenues can influence business owner perceptions of current conditions and temper their optimism for the year ahead," Stevens said. "Despite the pull back in optimism this quarter, there's more certainty in today's economy than at this time last year, and we're seeing more promising trends."