"Increased confidence in economic conditions is definitely a bright spot in an otherwise bleak business environment," said Ryan Scully, director of Discover's business credit card. "Small business owners are far less bleak about the direction of the overall economy than they have been in months."
The number of small business owners who said the economy is getting worse dropped to 60%, down from 69% the previous month and significantly below the all-time high of 79% reached in June 2008. Those who viewed the economy as getting better rose from 12% to 16%.
Nearly a quarter, 24%, of owners saw economic conditions for their businesses improving, up from 19% in February and the highest response in this category since August 2008. Similarly, 47% saw conditions getting worse, down from 54% in February.
In addition, 41% of owners responded that they have experienced temporary cash flow issues over the past 90 days, basically unchanged from 42% in February. Overall, views of the current economy remained constant: 90% rated the economy as fair or poor in March, unchanged from February.