Strong job and income growth lifted small-business optimism in the second quarter close to the record-high level achieved at the end of last year, Wells Fargo reported on Thursday.

Based on interviews with 600 owners nationwide, the San Francisco-based lender's quarterly small-business optimism index rose to 113, one point below an all-time high of 114 during the fourth quarter of 2006.

All six index components made gains in the second quarter, including revenues, capital spending, and hiring, among others.

Sixty percent of respondents reported feeling "satisfied or very satisfied" as small-business owners, up from 50 percent in the previous quarter.

"Despite fears that higher gasoline prices would weaken small-business demand, steady job and income growth have helped sustain robust revenues and cash flows for small businesses," Scott Anderson, Wells Fargo's senior economist, said in a statement.

- next -

Published on: May 17, 2007