SOURCE: Small Business Research Board

May 09, 2008 08:00 ET

U.S. Small Business Confidence Index Increases 10 Points; Optimism in Western States Drives the SBCI Increase, According to the Report Prepared in Conjunction With International Profit Associates

BUFFALO GROVE, IL--(Marketwire - May 9, 2008) - The Small Business Research Board (SBRB) U.S. Small Business Confidence Index (SBCI) increased to 43.67 in the first quarter of 2008, an upturn of nearly 10 points (29.5%) from the previous quarter, according to a report issued here today.

The greatest increase of confidence is among businesses in the Western states where the index increased to 59 from the 37 points (59%) recorded in the previous study, according to the report co-sponsored by International Profit Associates. Businesses in the Western states reported they are most optimistic about the improvement of the overall economy. 67% of the respondents in the region expect an improved economy and 61% expect revenues to increase in the next 12 months. 49% say they plan to increase hiring.

Businesses in the Midwest and the South -- the same regions that provided the foundation for optimism in the first half of 2007 when the SBCI rose from 41 to 46 -- remain consistent with the national average. Each of those regions reported slight increased confidence indexes looking toward a better economy and revenue increases, based on the previous report. The Southern states are most optimistic in regard to their hiring expectations with an increase of 14 points over the results from the first quarter report. The Midwestern states are most optimistic in regard to revenue increase expectations with a 12 point jump over the results from the same first quarter report.

The most pessimistic region was the Northeast, where the SBCI dropped from 34.66 to 33 points from the previous quarter. The Northeastern states were the only states to report a decrease in confidence. This was led by a reported 13% decrease in revenue expectations and is seven points below the national average.

More than 1,000 small businesses participated in the SBRB poll.

Nationally, small business owners and managers throughout the U.S. reported slightly higher levels of expectations for the next 12 months in all three categories comprising the confidence index. Only 37% of the respondents indicated they intend to increase hiring the next 12 months, a slight increase of 13 points from the 24% who reported increased hiring in the previous study. Of the participants, 42% said they believe the economy will improve, 13 points higher than the last study. The current report also showed 52% of the businesses are projecting revenue increases, 4 points higher than the 48% last quarter.

The results of three major U.S. regions mirrored the overall findings. Small businesses in the Northeast states were most pessimistic with an SBCI of 33. Owners and managers in the West/Pacific region were most optimistic, recording a regional SBCI of 59, 15.4 points higher than the national average.

The opinions and projections about the strength of the economy, revenues and hiring looking forward 12 months are the three key ingredients to determining the SBCI and providing the basis for these quarterly and annual comparisons.

SBRB CONFIDENCE INDEX COMPARISONS
                                     ALL
                                     US      NE    Midwest   S/SE   W/Pac
SBRB Confidence
Index
Q1 2008                             43.67      33   34.67   44.33      59

Q4 2007                             33.67   34.66   27.67   33.33      37

Q3 2007                             43.00   42.33   39.66   44.00   47.66

Q2 2007                             46.00   47.66   42.33   50.00   45.66

Q1 2007                             40.78   40.36   32.33   42.67   49.48

The Small Business Research Board ascertains and reports the opinions of small business owners and managers on a wide variety of topics related to their own businesses as well as national and international issues that may impact their operations. The SBRB conducts these studies for the benefit of small business owners and managers. The SBRB also provides opportunities for third parties to gain real time insight into the attitudes of small businesses nationwide through the independently conducted research.

The universe of participants is developed from among small businesses across the United States. More than 1,000 small business owners and senior managers participated in this SBRB poll. The SBRB study is a voluntary survey conducted via phone and e-mail. The latest information about the Small Business Research Board can be found at www.ipasbrb.com.

International Profit Associates, Inc. (IPA) is the largest privately held provider of management consulting services to small- and medium-size businesses in North America. IPA, and its more than 1,800 professionals, offer a wide range of proven and innovative methodologies to help businesses grow and prosper regardless of the economic cycle. IPA either provides directly, or through its affiliated companies, a comprehensive array of business advisory services, tax and estate planning services or merger, acquisition and other financial advisory services in the United States and Canada. More information about IPA can be found at www.ipa-iba.com.

Copyright 2008 Small Business Research Board (SBRB)

For more information about this poll, results of previous studies or other matters related to the SBRB, please contact Jennifer Cumbee, (847) 495-6786.

Note to editors: (Historical SBCI text and graphic charts beginning with the winter reporting period of 2005 through the first quarter 2008 reporting period follows.)

Small Business Research Board (SBRB)
U.S. Small Business Confidence Index (SBCI)
4th Quarter 2005 - 1st Quarter 2008

4th Q  1st Q   2nd Q  3rd Q  4th Q   1st Q   2nd Q   3rd Q   4th Q   1st Q
 2005   2006    2006   2006   2006    2007    2007    2007    2007    2008
 55.3   52.0    47.3   39.3   42.7   40.78    46.0    43.0   33.67   43.67



                                       ALL
                                       US      NE    Midwest  S/SE    W/Pac
Economy Improving
Q1 2008                               42.00   28.00   28.00   42.00   67.00
Q4 2007                               29.00   29.00   24.00   29.00   31.00
Q3 2007                               37.00   33.00   32.00   41.00   41.00
Q2 2007                               43.00   46.00   41.00   42.00   44.00
Q1 2007                               40.07    44.2   31.50   43.70   44.10

Revenue Increase
Q1 2008                               52.00   45.00   51.00   52.00   61.00
Q4 2007                               48.00   52.00   39.00   46.00   53.00
Q3 2007                               53.00   54.00   49.00   54.00   57.00
Q2 2007                               58.00   54.00   50.00   67.00   64.00
Q1 2007                               53.71   50.00   47.50    54.8   62.87

Hiring
Q4 2008                               37.00   26.00   25.00   39.00   49.00
Q4 2007                               24.00   23.00   20.00   25.00   27.00
Q3 2007                               39.00   40.00   38.00   37.00   45.00
Q2 2007                               37.00   41.00   36.00   41.00   29.00
Q1 2007                               28.71   26.90   18.01   29.50   41.48

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Jennifer Cumbee
    International Profit Associates
    847-808-5590
    Email Contact