Fears of the economy drifting into a recession could be overblown — at least in the opinions of some Florida small business owners.

The report, the fifth annual Small Business Forecast from First Citizens Bank, shows that Sunshine State entrepreneurs have increased levels of confidence and optimism, in both the short- and long-term economy. Business owners also have higher levels of growth expectations for their own companies in the remainder of 2019 and into 2020.

In total, every economic environment question posed to Floridians on the survey, conducted online earlier this year, posted some kind of increase or higher level than the 2018 survey. The survey included business owners in four other states: California, North Carolina, South Carolina and Wisconsin. It also broke down responses by state and generation. 

Examples of Florida’s optimism include:

  • Eight in 10 respondents in Florida are either very or somewhat confident their businesses will grow in the remainder of the year. That’s up from 73% in 2018, and higher than each of the other states by at least three percentage points. South Carolina went in the opposite direction, falling 7% year-over-year in that category.
  • More than seven in 10 Floridian respondents, 73%, answered very or somewhat confident to the question of “how confident are you in the overall U.S. economic conditions in 2019?” That’s up from 60% in 2018 and tied with California for the highest response in the survey.
  • In projecting the environment two to three years out, the survey shows 71% of Floridian business owners are very or somewhat confident about economic conditions, up from 60% in 2018.
  • In one of the biggest confidence boosts of the survey, 81% of respondents in Florida say they plan to grow sales in the next six months to a year. That’s up from 59% in the 2018 survey.
  • Nearly three-fourths of the respondents, 73%, say Florida is a great place to start a business, up from 69% in 2018.

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