GALLUP Survey for Q3: Resilient and Optimistic Small Business Owners

By at 13 November, 2019, 10:01 am

by Raymond J. Keating-

Entrepreneurs are a positive, resilient bunch, and that was made clear, once again, in the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index survey.

Gallup reported that “the overall index is at +142, up from +136 in July and +129 in April. The index is a measure of owners’ present and future optimism — both of which saw modest upticks this quarter.” (See the following chart from

At the same time, the small business owner outlook on the economy grew a bit more pessimistic. The overall rating on the economy remained positive, though downgraded slightly from the previous quarter’s take, with 63 percent rating the economy as excellent or good in the latest survey, versus 70 percent in the previous quarter’s.

The key warning sign came in terms of the outlook for a recession. Wells Fargo/Gallup reported that 33 percent of small business owners expected an economic downturn or recession in the coming 12 months, and another 34 percent viewed it as somewhat likely. That combined 67 percent contrasted with 27 percent saying not very likely.

At the same time, though, it was reported: “when owners are asked a broad question about their financial outlook ‘for your business’ over the next year, 77% say they are more optimistic than pessimistic — similar to the 79% recorded last quarter and up modestly from 70% in Quarter 2.”

A contradiction on what’s ahead? Perhaps some. But, again, it’s more about entrepreneurial resilience and optimism.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.


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