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posted on 19 May 2015

April 2015 Thumbtack Small Business Sentiment Improves

by Thumbtack

The Thumbtack Small Business Sentiment Survey, a first-of-its-kind survey that captures the economic sentiment of more than 10,000 small businesses nationwide shows that small business sentiment has risen 5 points (out of a scale of 100) over the last year. Today marks the inaugural release of this survey which will be updated monthly.

The U.S. Economic Census shows that over 90% of small businesses in the United States have five employees or fewer. Thumbtack's survey is the first small business survey whose respondents reflect this specific demographic. While there are various indexes and surveys that seek to measure small business sentiment, there are no other surveys that have enough responses from businesses of this size to examine results at a state or city level.

Via its network of more than 150,000 active service professionals, Thumbtack has the unique capability to regularly survey this otherwise difficult-to-reach population. Said Jon Lieber, Chief Economist of Thumbtack:

We are excited to be able to share this new survey, which will capture the sentiment of thousands of small businesses nationwide on a monthly basis. Many of these business owners have few or no employees, and are often overlooked in other widely-tracked business surveys. We hope to offer new insights and a better understanding into what's happening in this critical segment of the nation's workforce and the American economy.

The inaugural version of the survey shows a slow and steady recovery among America's smallest businesses:

  • Overall sentiment has risen 5 points (out of a scale of 100) over the last year.

  • Employers are generally feeling better about the economy than business owners who operate alone - there was a consistent 4 point spread between the two groups.

  • Expectations for inflation remain well in check, though Thumbtack's proprietary Inflation Index shows that over the last year, business owners have increased their expectations of what they will pay their employees.

  • The recovery is slightly uneven, with the West and the Northeast lagging slightly behind the South and the Midwest in Economic Sentiment.

The full results can be seen here and include details on the relative sentiment of each state and city, how businesses in each area responded to survey questions, and hundreds of quotes from small businesses nationwide. Each state and city also has its own dedicated webpage showing detailed survey results for that area.

Bloomberg Professional service customers can access this data and additional industry level analysis at {ECST T TACKUSBS }.

Survey methodology has surveyed tens of thousands of small businesses quarterly since December 2012. The survey asked questions about how small businesses are feeling about the general economic environment and health of their business, such as:

  • How would you rate your company's financial situation today?

  • Have you attempted to fill any part-time or full-time positions over the past three months?

  • How do you expect the prices you charge to your clients or customers to change over the next three months? and Bloomberg then used the survey responses to create a weighted index that demonstrates Small Business Economic Sentiment in one easy-to-understand number between 0 and 100 - an index score above 50 means sentiment is positive; an index score below 46 means sentiment is negative. The full methodology paper can be found here. Beginning in March, 2015, Thumbtack began collecting results monthly for this new survey. Survey results will be released the last week of the month going forward.

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