Six years following a deep recession, new data reveal that more American entrepreneurs are launching businesses based on perceived opportunities and a broad optimistic outlook—a group sometimes called opportunity entrepreneurs.
Opportunity perceptions among Americans reached 47.2 percent last year—a record, according to the 15th annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report released Tuesday in Santiago, Chile.
Based on a survey of about 197,000 individuals worldwide, the study offers one of the most in-depth looks at attitudes about entrepreneurship and the broader global economy. It is conducted with several partners, including Babson College, located outside Boston.
"Half of Americans think there are good opportunities for starting a business," said Donna Kelley, an entrepreneurship professor at Babson. "The 2013 results reveal that the U.S. has maintained a high rate of entrepreneurship for three years running, after substantial declines in this activity in the aftermath of the recession."
The GEM report portrays entrepreneurs collectively as more upbeat. This is in contrast to previous GEM reports that showed more necessity-driven entrepreneurs: people who start businesses because they have few options for getting a job.
The report also found that women entrepreneurs from innovation-driven or developed-world economies showed, on average, higher degrees of personal well-being than men. Globally, entrepreneurs had higher ratings of well-being than populations not involved in entrepreneurial activities, suggesting that entrepreneurship could be a good career path.
In the U.S., other non-GEM data, including monthly domestic sentiment indicators, point to small businesses' pursuing growth, but cautiously. Issues looming large over American small-business owners include Obamacare and health-care costs, increases in the minimum wage and an anticipated rise in borrowing costs for businesses.
—By CNBC's Heesun Wee. Follow her on Twitter @heesunwee.