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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

May 30, 2012 at 9:57 AM

Some small glints of optimism from small business

Small-business owners, some of the worst hit by the Great Recession, are feeling a bit more optimistic, according to a new survey by U.S. Bank. A total of 37 percent of Washington respondents said the state economy was stronger than the nation’s. That compares with only 5 percent in Oregon and 7 percent in Arizona. The national average was 33 percent. But there are many caveats.

In answering the question, “Fewer believe the U.S. economy is still in recession,” “only” 71 percent said yes. That compares with 78 percent in 2011 and 89 percent in 2010. Better, but still an astounding number. And real, based on my conversations with small-business owners. The percent that think we’ll still be in recession next year: 85 percent. As for hiring, 18 percent of Washington respondents and 14 percent in Oregon expect to add jobs in the next year.

The bank surveyed 3,220 small-business owners (with revenue worth $10 million or less) in its 25-state operating area in March and April.

As for specific issues, many are concerned about the effect of Obamacare. In Washington, education is the No. 1 issue in this election. “Economic uncertainty” is the big concern nationally, although I’m not sure what that means considering we always live in uncertain times. My sense is that it points up the deep damage done by the Great Recession and how it lingers, how slow growth, unemployment, debt and continued disruptions make this unlike any post-World War II recovery. If this is a recovery. (You can read more about the survey here.)

And Don’t Miss: Mark Zuckerberg’s nightmare comes to life || NY Magazine

Today’s Econ Haiku:

A bloom in the spring

The derivative would be

A paper flower

Comments | More in Great Recession, Small business

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