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Polling

SurveyMonkey CNBC Small Business Confidence Survey

SurveyMonkey CNBC Small Business Confidence Survey

Welcome to our SurveyMonkey | CNBC small business confidence survey. Every quarter, we ask small business owners about the current small business environment and their expectations for the future.

Q2 2019 summary

President Trump’s late-2017 tax cuts once bolstered small business confidence, but there’s new evidence that those positive effects may have already peaked, according to a new CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business survey.

Small business owners are now more pessimistic than ever in this quarterly survey about the prospects for tax and regulatory policies in the year ahead.

Still, improved expectations for hiring and revenue along with better overall sentiment regarding current business conditions offset these changes, keeping the overall index score at about the same level it has held for the past two quarters.

Small Business Confidence Index

Percent of small business owners who say current conditions are “good”

Q1Q2Q3Q4
201738%39%44%
2018
47%53%58%55%
201952%56%

Topline Archive

Methodology

This CNBC/SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted April 15 - 22, 2019 among a national sample of 2,100 self-identified small business owners ages 18 and up. This quarter, we also reached 10,253 individuals who do not own small businesses. Respondents for this survey were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for the results among small business owners and 1.5 percentage points for results among those who do not own small businesses.

Weighting

Data for small business statistics have been weighted according to business characteristics (industry and number of employees) according to the Small Business Administration’s 2013 Statistics of U.S. Businesses. Additionally, person-level data (age, gender, level of education, race, geography) for business owners have been weighted to the Census Bureau’s 2012 Survey of Business Owners.

Small business confidence definition

What is the small business confidence index? Every quarter, we asked small business owners a battery of eight questions relating to current business conditions and future expectations. Those questions are:

  1. Overall, would you describe current conditions for your business as good, middling, or bad?
  2. In the next 12 months, do you expect your business’s revenue to increase, stay the same, or decrease?
  3. In the next 12 months, do you expect your business’s staff of of full-time employees to increase, stay the same, or decrease?
  4. In the next 12 months, do you expect changes in government regulations to have a negative effect, no effect, or a positive effect on your business?
  5. In the next 12 months, do you expect changes in tax policy to have a negative effect, no effect, or a positive effect on your business?
  6. In the next 12 months, do you expect changes in trade policy to have a negative effect, no effect, or a positive effect on your business?
  7. In the next 12 months, do you expect changes in technological innovation to have a negative effect, no effect, or a positive effect on your business?
  8. In the next 12 months, do you expect changes in immigration policy to have a negative effect, no effect, or a positive effect on your business?

Positive responses are assigned a score of 2, middle responses are assigned a score of 1, and negative responses are assigned a score of 0. For each individual small business owner, an index score is calculated by summing the values for each question, dividing by 8, and multiplying by 50. This yields a possible index range of 0 to 100.