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More Business Owners Plan to Spend in 2012: Survey

Photo by: Tracy O.

Small business owners are looking to spend in 2012.

That’s according to the just-released Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, which surveyed 600 small business owners in January 2012. It found that that 28 percent of U.S. small business owners plan to increase their company’s capital spending in the next 12 months.

That's in line with our own — smaller — survey conducted earlier this month with members of CNBC.com's Small Business Council. When asked if they were planning on spendingin 2012, we heard a resounding yes.

Among the planned spending, most of it already in the works: a restaurant renovation; the purchase of a new building for a retail outlet, a delivery van; and, for several of the respondents, new manufacturing equipment that will each company between $100,000 to $250,000.

The Wells Fargo/Gallup survey brings more positive news: The 28 percent who say they will spend is the highest percentage the Index has recorded since January 2008.

One reason business owners may be considering spending: They believe it will be easier to get a loan in 2012. According to the Wells Fargo/Gallup index, 25 percent say credit was somewhat or very easy to get over the past 12 months, the highest percentage since April 2009. Looking ahead, 27 percent say it will be somewhat or very easy to get credit over the next 12 months; again, the highest since April 2009, and up from 22 percent in October 2011.

While a hefty 38 percent expect it will remain difficult to obtain credit, that number is down from 43 percent in October.

The report notes that despite the positive trends, economic realities still hover over most business owners' spreadsheets. Rising gas prices and fragile consumer confidence levels could drag down the economy, it notes.

And if consumers aren't spending, neither is the most optimistic business owner.

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