Small business optimism held onto recent gains in the second quarter, according to the latest findings from the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index (PDF) conducted April 3-7. In the quarterly survey, which measures the optimism of small business owners, the overall Index score was 95 in April, down from 100 in February when business owners reported being the most optimistic since the start of the Great Recession. Small business optimism is still up significantly from a year ago when the Index score was 64, as business owners continue to report improvement across most survey measures.

95  | April 2017 Index Score
64 | April 2016 Index Score

Index movement since 2003

Small business financial metrics

Strong financial situation
73% | (Percentage of surveyed who) say current financial situation is very or somewhat good (71% Q1)

Healthy revenues
45% | Say their business’s revenue increased a little or a lot over the past 12 months (45% Q1)

Steady cash flow
 63% | Say their cash flow was very or somewhat good over the past 12 months (64% Q1)

Access to credit
39%| Say  credit was somewhat or easy to obtain over the past 12 months (40% Q1)

Small business hiring

31% | Say they expect the number of jobs or positions at their company to increase over the next year
52% | Say that finding qualified people to apply for jobs at their businesses is a top challenge
43% | Say they have difficulty knowing how well an applicant will do when hired
32% | Say candidates applying for jobs at their business are either over or underqualified for the position
32% | Say they do not have the time and resources to devote to finding the best candidates

Most important small business challenges

These challenges have been consistently reported as the top concerns of small business owners since early 2013, although the order of concerns shifts from quarter to quarter.

13% | Attracting customers and finding new business rose to the top of the list
11% |  Hiring and retaining quality staff
10% | Government regulations
10% | The economy


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