Washington, DC — Increased confidence in local economies and the health of small businesses helped push the MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index up for the second consecutive quarter to 63.2. This means 63.2% of small business owners have a positive outlook about their company and the small business environment in the United States.
- Most small businesses are not prepared for catastrophic events
- Revenue and investment expectations remain steady
- Local economies remain bright spots
- Holiday sales are not "make-or-break" for most small businesses
- The gulf is widening between the national and local economic outlook
- A quarter of small businesses have little to no online presence
Further analysis is available at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted September 18 – October 16, 2017 via telephone in English. For the survey, a sample of 1,000 small business owners and operators was sourced from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii.
Small businesses are defined in this study as companies with fewer than 500 employees that are not sole proprietorships. The sample for this study is a listed business directory of all U.S. businesses obtained through Dun and Bradstreet. Ipsos used fixed sample targets, unique to this study, in drawing sample. This sample calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. small business population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2014 Statistics of U.S. Businesses dataset. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on firmographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on region, industry sector and size of business.
All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a confidence interval adjusted for design effect of the following: (n=1,000, DEFF=1.5) adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5 percentage points. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding.
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To construct national, regional, and employee size, and broad industry level estimates of the health of small businesses in the U.S., a sequence of statistical techniques was applied to the survey results, including elastic net for variable selection and multilevel regression with post stratification (MRP) from the survey data.
Since each business may report the state of its health by different standards, Ipsos uses the core survey questions to construct a stable, consistent definition of small business status. Each business is then classified into one of three categories: poor, neutral, or good. Once each business is measured on a consistent scale, the survey results are fed into a multilevel regression model to generalize our results to a broader set of businesses not just nationally but also at the level of state, industry, and business size. The model uses employee size, industry type, and location as individual level predictors, as well as data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on job change by industry.
Next, to ensure that our model results are reflective of the small business population in the U.S., we adjust our estimates using the number of businesses in the over 5,000 possible combinations of state, industry and firm-size categories to ensure that the model of business health represents the U.S. population of small business.
For the regional-level estimate specifically, the current quarter information also references the data from teh previous two quarters to better stabilize the current quarter estimate.
The process used is known as post stratification, something that was not possible with the original sample due to sample-size limitations. The population estimates for employee size, industry and location were obtained from the 2014 Census Survey of U.S. Businesses.
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Vice President, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
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