SOURCE: Small Business Research Board

May 09, 2008 08:00 ET

U.S. Small Business Confidence Index Increases Nearly 10 Points; Small Business Research Board Study Finds Slight Increase in All Key Indicators

BUFFALO GROVE, IL--(Marketwire - May 9, 2008) - Increases in all key indicators raised the Small Business Research Board (SBRB) U.S. Small Business Confidence Index (SBCI) to 43.67 during the first quarter of 2008, according to the latest report issued today.

As previously reported, the SBRB Small Business Confidence Index (SBCI) from the fourth quarter of 2007 survey was set at 33.67, nearly 10 points (29.5%) lower than the current index of 43.67.

More than 1,000 owners and managers participated in the nationwide SBRB poll co-sponsored by International Profit Associates.

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 for the four major U.S. regions mirrored the overall findings. 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. Small businesses in the Northeast states were most pessimistic with an SBCI of 33.

The SBRB first began reporting a confidence index in the fourth quarter of 2005. When it was first introduced, the SBCI was set at 55.3.

"While the Small Business Confidence Index has rebounded during this quarter by nearly 10 points, it is important to note that this brings the SBCI back to its midrange point," said Gregg M. Steinberg, President of IPA, based in Buffalo Grove, Ill. IPA is the largest privately held provider of management consulting services to small- and medium-size businesses in North America. "The next quarter's index will be a better indication of whether this rebounding will hold or confidence will wane," said Steinberg.

  SBRB Confidence Index Comparisons

      SBRB Confidence Index

             All U.S.

      Q1 2008         43.67

      Q4 2007         33.67

      Q3 2007          43.0

      Q2 2007          46.0

      Q1 2007         40.78

      Q4 2006          42.7

      Q3 2006          39.3

      Q2 2006          47.3

      Q1 2006          52.0

      Q4 2005          55.3

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.

IPA 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.

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

Contact Information

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    Jennifer Cumbee
    Small Business Research Board
    847-495-6786
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