SMB Confidence Grows to Highest Level in 4 Years

Good news on the business-confidence front. New research from The Sage Group shows that for the first time in four years, businesses around the world are more optimistic than pessimistic.

Sage surveyed 14,000 small and medium-size businesses in 18 countries. It found that scores rose above 50 (out of 100) across all three areas in the study: respondents’ own prospects, their national economies and the global economy.

In the U.S., confidence rose 2.88 points over last year, to 67.53. Confidence in local economies also is improving, hitting a four-year high of 53.22. But despite an improvement of .80 points, doubts about the global economy remain, with U.S. businesses rating their confidence at 48.60, a little more than three points below the global average.

The overall rise in business confidence is reflected in predictions for the year ahead. The majority of U.S. businesses (58 percent) surveyed anticipate their revenue will grow by an average of 3.1 percent in the next year (above the global average of 2.5 percent). Nearly half (44 percent) say the number of people their business employs will also increase in the same time period, by 2.5 people on average.

More than half (54 percent) of American decision-makers describe themselves as risk seekers, and only one-quarter as risk-averse, placing them above the global average (49 percent risk seekers and 31 percent as risk-averse). This also is a 7 percent increase in the number of risk seekers in the last 12 months.

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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