(Gawkwire.com) PayCycle, Inc, America’s #1 online payroll service, today released results of a proprietary survey comparing small business owner sentiment over the past ninety days. Results show that since a similar survey completed in late October 2008, the percentage of small business owners who are "very worried" about the economy has decreased by almost one-third.

The earlier survey, fielded between October 16-21, 2008, showed that over half (56%) of small business owners were "very worried" about the economy. In the new survey, fielded between January 27 and February 2, 2009, that number dropped to 39%, while the largest group is now still "somewhat worried" (48%) as compared to 35% before.
This uptick in optimism is despite nearly half (48%) indicating they are "not at all confident" that President Obama and Congress will pass a stimulus package that addresses the needs of small business owners. Thirty-nine percent (39%) indicated they are "somewhat confident" that the President and Congress will pass a stimulus package that will meet their needs, and only 13% indicated they are "very confident" about this.

"The October survey was conducted just after the market crash and small business owners were, justifiably, very scared. Now, we are seeing small business confidence begin to creep up," said Jim Heeger, president and CEO of PayCycle Inc. "This may be the reflection of the ‘can-do’ spirit of the American small business owner and possibly the change in the administration in Washington. But clearly half of small business owners aren’t yet convinced that the stimulus package will directly help them," continued Heeger.

When asked about an economic recovery, 58% of respondents now believe the recovery will take another 12-18 months, compared to 50% in the earlier survey. The survey showed that both the extreme pessimists (those who earlier predicted an economic recovery in more than 18 months) and extreme optimists (those that earlier predicted an economic recovery in less than six months) are beginning to converge on predicting an economic recovery in the 12-18 month range.

"We are beginning to see a moderation of expectation around an anticipated economic recovery. Small business owners are typically realists; they are closest to the consumer and are an important barometer of expectation," continued Heeger.

The survey, conducted between January 27 and February 2, 2009, compiled responses from 478 small businesses randomly selected from PayCycle’s broad, national base of over 75,000 small business customers. The previous survey, conducted from October 16-21, 2008, compiled responses from 215 small businesses, also randomly selected from PayCycle’s base.

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