Signaling more Americans are feeling buoyant about their economic prospects, attitudes about entrepreneurship are at the highest level in 14 years, according to a new global study released Thursday.
Roughly "43 percent of Americans see good opportunities for entrepreneurship in their area," said Donna J. Kelley, associate professor of entrepreneurship at Babson College, and one of the report's authors.
The report shows growing numbers of so-called opportunity entrepreneurs. The group includes Americans who are leaping into entrepreneurship based on their perception of promising opportunities ahead. This is in contrast to the depths of the recession, when more people started businesses because they couldn't find jobs and had no other option — a trend called necessity entrepreneurship.
The opportunity perception reading among Americans was 37 percent in 2008, then tumbled to 28 percent in 2009. The level edged up to 35 percent in 2010 and 36 percent in 2011. "Now we're seeing a jump to 43 percent in 2012," Kelley said.
The data is part of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2012 Global Report, which was released earlier Thursday at an annual meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It's the 14th annual survey of entrepreneurship worldwide, and the largest single study of its kind. U.S. opportunity perception is the highest since 1999, the group's first global report.