Office Depot report: Small business confidence rising

Boca Raton, Fla. Office Depot on Tuesday released the results of its October Office Depot Small Business Index, which showed improving attitudes among small- and medium-sized business owners.

The monthly index, which gauges the economic trends of small businesses in America -- indicated that small business confidence has significantly increased in terms of overall economic forecast for the next six months, with more businesses anticipating higher company sales, profits and capital spending. More than a quarter (26%) of October respondents said their small businesses will be hiring new employees in the next six months, compared with 19% in September.

When asked why they’ll be hiring, more respondents in the October Small Business Index indicated that their “business is improving” (October 65% versus September 48%) and that they feel that there is greater “economic certainty/stability” (October 24% versus September 19%).

“What we are hearing is that many small businesses are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel -- unfortunately nobody knows for sure what that light is,” said Neil Austrian, interim chairman and CEO for Office Depot. “With elections just around the corner and a new year on the horizon, there are a number of variables that will continue to influence SMB confidence throughout the fourth quarter.”

For purposes of its monthly survey, Office Depot defines small businesses as those with one to five employees, and medium-sized businesses with up to 20-99 employees.