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Union Bank’s National Small Business Economic Survey Finds Entrepreneurs Remain Cautious Amid Increased Optimism

While most small business owners plan to play it safe and control costs after a year of increased layoffs, they also report an uptick in optimism about the direction of the economy and their companies, with slightly more owners planning to boost hiring and capital expenditures in 2013, according to Union Bank’s National Small Business Economic Survey released today.

The survey — including 200 participants statewide and 500 outside of California — found that while nearly half of those surveyed feel the climate for their small business has worsened in the past two years, a growing number believe the national and state economies are heading in the right direction and the majority (84 percent) maintain confidence in the direction of their own companies.

“This survey demonstrates the resilience and perseverance of small business owners across the nation who, in leading their companies through the ups and downs of the economy, remain steadfast in the vision for their companies,” said Union Bank Executive Vice President Todd Hollander, head of Business Banking. “Entrepreneurs have become experts at gauging the business climate and adapting their course accordingly, so it makes sense that while confident in the direction of their businesses, they are also taking cues from the economy, balancing their increased optimism with caution.”

Cautious Outlook

While more California respondents show optimism about the direction of the national economy than those outside of California, more out-of-state businesses show confidence in the direction of their state economies. Thirty-seven percent of California respondents, compared with 29 percent of out-of-state respondents, show confidence in the direction of the national economy. Conversely, 43 percent of respondents outside of California agree with the direction of their state economy, compared with 37 percent of California respondents.

Among the industries surveyed, respondents in the professional services field (physicians, certified public accountants, attorneys, etc.) are most optimistic about the direction of the overall economy, with 37 percent believing the national economy is headed in the right direction and nearly half indicating confidence in the path of their state economy.

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