For the second consecutive quarter, the MetLife index (NYSE: MET) and the small business index of the Chamber of Commerce revealed a renewed optimism among entrepreneurs. The second and third quarters of 2017 posted an index of 60.6 and 62.3, respectively, with the fourth quarter at 63.2.
MetLife and the US Chamber of Commerce: Fourth Quarter 2017 Small Business Index
According to the index, the majority of small business owners in the United States, or 63.2% of them, have a positive view of the business environment and their business . Confidence has also spread to the financial health of their business, with 61% stating that it was good this quarter.
The telephone survey was conducted from September 18, 2017 to October 16, 2017 among 1,000 small business owners and operators. Participants came from the continental United States, as well as from Alaska and Hawaii.
The index highlighted several points, starting with disaster preparedness. This has been particularly important this year due to the number of catastrophic natural disasters across the country. In the survey, a third of small businesses said they had a plan in place to deal with a natural disaster, while a quarter said they did not have a plan for a type of disaster. When it came to cybersecurity, less than half had a plan in place.
James W. Reid, executive vice president of regional and small business solutions at MetLife, said in a press release announcing the results of the survey: "The number of recent disasters in the United States underscores the importance to plan in advance. Small business owners told us that they were not prepared for natural or man-made disasters, and we want to make sure that they will get help from them. they need when the time comes. "
Apart from the problem of disasters, the outlook is generally positive.
More than half of small business owners (57%) expect an increase in their earnings next year and 25% plan to increase their investments in their business. Unlike previous years, two-thirds of all small businesses said that holiday sales are not made for them.
Regarding national and local perspectives, local economies seem "increasingly pink," according to the survey.
Forty-eight percent of small businesses reported that their local economy was strong, with 42% and 46% reporting consecutive increases in the second and third quarters, respectively. With respect to the national economy, 38% of small business owners say they are optimistic.
The survey also noted different regions of the United States with assessments of the strengths of their small businesses. The South led the way with 63.7, with nearly 7 out of 10 small businesses saying their health is "pretty good" to "very good". It was followed by the West at 62.5, Midwest at 62.4 and East at 61.1.
Small business prospects are positive
The MetLife and Small Business Index of the Chamber of Commerce is the latest survey that paints a generally positive picture of small business owners' feelings. The Capital One Spark Small Business Growth Index, which was also released this month, came to a similar conclusion.
Images: United States Chamber of Commerce / MetLife