American Express survey finds some small business owners believe U.S. still in recession

New York City -- Research results released Tuesday by American Express found that more than a third (38%) of small business owners believe that the U.S. is still in the throes of a recession.

According to the American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor, a semi-annual survey in its 10th year, concerns about the economy are weighing heavily on entrepreneurs. Twenty-seven percent say they do not plan to grow in the next six months (up from 21% in the spring) and just 77% describe themselves as glass-half-full optimists (down from 85% a year ago).

Despite those concerns, however, there are some positive signs. The survey showed that cash flow is more under control, as 55% expressed cash-flow concerns, down from 66% in the spring. On the capex side, 48% plan investments, up from 44% in the spring.

On the hiring front, 31% say they will hire over the next six months, down slightly from the spring (35%), but at levels still higher than the