Small firms are cautiously optimistic

Small-business owners polled in January are slightly more confident that sales will improve, but they remain hesitant to bring on new workers or spend more on company improvements.

The Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index came in at -16 compared with -15 at the end of last year. But the measurement of future expectations rose to 13 from 9. A score of zero suggests small-business owners are neutral; a positive score indicates optimism.

Business owners were slightly more confident that their sales and cash flows will improve over the next year. Most still don’t plan on adding to depressed payrolls or spending more money, however.

Nearly a quarter said they planned to increase investment in their business, but a third said they will cut capital spending. The rest planned no changes.

Associated Press