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.

Q1 2018 Summary

Overall small business confidence jumped across the board from an index value of 57 in the fourth quarter of 2017 to a value of 62 in the first quarter of 2018, a five-point swing that is the largest quarter-to-quarter movement the index has seen to date. The shift was driven by increased optimism for tax policy: half (50 percent) of small business owners expect to see tax cuts in 2018. Those who expect tax cuts score nearly 20 points higher on the index than those who don’t see one ahead (71 vs. 52).

In Q4 2017, small business owners were split evenly on a core index question about the effect that tax policy would have on their business, but no longer. Opinions have shifted significantly, and twice as many now expect changes in tax policy to have a positive rather than a negative effect on their businesses (46 to 23 percent).

Small Business Confidence Index

Small Business Optimism
2017
2018

Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1
All small business owners 60 57 57 62
  Businesses with 0-4 employees 58 56 56 61
  Businesses with 5-9 employees 64 58 56 63
  Businesses with 10-49 employees 63 59 60 64
  Businesses with 50+ employees 67 67 63 64

Topline Archive

Q2 2017
Q3 2017
Q4 2017
Q1 2018

Methodology

This CNBC/SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted January 29 – February 5, 2018 among a national sample of 2,080 self-identified small business owners ages 18 and up. This quarter, we also reached 10,422 individuals who do not own small businesses. Respondents for this survey were selected from the nearly 3 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.

Read more about our methodology.

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.