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Economic confidence among small business owners improved in February for the first time since July of last year. Forty-one percent of owners said current economic conditions have forced them to reduce business spending, and 67% report having to curtail personal spending. Another 55% have been forced to reduce the amount of money they take out of their businesses, according to the “Discover Small Business Watch” index. The index rose in February to 90.9, a 4.6-point increase over January’s 86.3. About 34% of small business owners said they see economic conditions for their businesses getting better over the next six months, up from 31% who felt the same in January. One-third said they planned to increase spending on business development activities over the next six months, an increase over 28% in January who planned to do the same. Two-thirds of small business owners feel that economic conditions in the U.S. are getting worse, a decrease from 74% who felt this way in January. More than 40% said they have experienced cash flow issues over the last 90 days, a slight decrease from 44% in January, but consistent with the past several months.

Discover Small Business Watch
Feb 07: 113.4
Mar 07: 117.7
Apr 07: 110.3
May 07: 110.0
Jun 07: 102.5
Jul 07: 107.3
Aug 07: 102.4
Sep 07: 99.2
Oct 07: 96.8
Nov 07: 93.2
Dec 07: 92.7
Jan 08: 86.3
Feb 08: 90.9
Source: Discover Business Card

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