Half of small business owners feel that current business conditions are either good or excellent, up from 41 percent last year, according to Capital One's latest Small Business Growth Index, out this week. At least 50 percent of business owners expect their financial situations to improve in the next six months, an 11 percent increase from 2016. Meanwhile, just four percent of those surveyed expect to be in a worse financial position in the next six months--the lowest number reported since fall 2012.
For all of this increased optimism, only 27 percent said they plan to hire new employees. About 62 percent of small business owners cite concerns over regulatory reforms, 50 percent about taxes, a third about managing cash flow and 22 percent over minimum wage increases.
Even so, another new survey showed less caution among business owners. A recent report from payroll provider ADP notes that small businesses added 118,000 jobs in the last month, up nearly 36 percent from 87,000 in February. On top of that, according to ADP's data, small businesses are hiring an average of 93,000 workers each month in 2017, up from an average of 61,000 last year.
Today's report from the Labor Department noted that while the number of added jobs expected was lower than anticipated, the unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent, a near 10-year low, because more people had reported finding a job.
The Capital One Small Business Growth Index surveyed 500 small business owners--defined as those with a total annual revenue of less than $10 million--between February 9 and March 1st.