Small-business owners feel good about their own businesses, but they are getting more anxious about the national economy, according to an annual survey from U.S. Bank.
The share of owners who feel the nation's economy is contracting nearly tripled in Minnesota over the past 12 months, so that nearly one in three believes the nation is in recession. That's consistent with national numbers.
However, small-business owners in Minnesota have grown more positive about their outlook for the state economy, as 55 percent said they believe the state is better off than the nation, the highest percentage since U.S. Bank started the survey seven years ago.
Business conditions are slightly down in 2016 compared with a year ago, and revenue is generally flat. Economic uncertainty was reported as the biggest challenge.
"Business owners are still in a cautious mode, second-guessing future decisions," said Ross Carey, head of business banking at U.S. Bank. "Business is good, though they wonder if another shoe will drop in the economy. A little more time and some clarity around who will be leading our country a year from now will go a long way in boosting their confidence."
Another challenge is the health care system, which business owners still regard with deep skepticism, six years after passage of the Affordable Care Act. Some 54 percent of those surveyed said health care would have a negative long-term impact on their business.
Small-business owners' optimism varies by state, according to the survey. In Minnesota, Colorado, Washington and northern California, business owners feel better. States where business owners feel the state economy is worse than the national economy include Arizona, Oregon, Wisconsin, Missouri and Illinois.