After a fairly sizeable four-point jump in September, the Outlook For Expansion index among small businesses fell two points to 7 from 9 during October. We believe this is not the beginning of a downward trend, but a breather from a strong move the previous month.
After all, September’s increase was the largest in over a year and nearly doubled from August’s level. Overall, we believe optimism among small business continues to improve, albeit slowly.
Fifty-three percent of small business owners indicated that “economic conditions” were not favorable for expansion, and another 12% were unsure – meaning two-thirds of respondents where neutral or negative about the economy as the reason for their expansion outlook. And their next biggest concern was the “political climate,” with 13% responding that it was not a good time or uncertain. We believe further loosening in the credit market and an increase in consumer spending are the most likely drivers to further gains in the expansion outlook among small businesses.