Blacks, most Optimistic among all Small Business Owners

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According to the 4th Quarter 2011 Gazelle Index small business survey, African American CEOs expressed the greatest optimism about the economy’s future and they plan to engage in the most hiring over the next three months. When asked how they felt about the future three months down the road, 36% of blacks indicated that they were more optimistic. In comparison, only 23% of whites and 22% of Hispanics/Latino business owners felt optimistic about the future. The percentages for men and women CEOs were are the same, 27%. The fact that blacks are more optimistic seems paradoxical, especially because they currently have the highest rate of unemployment of all race and ethnic groups. According to the latest Labor Department report, black unemployment stood at 15.5% in November 2011. Adding to the paradox, the Gazelle Index found that 24.4% of all black business owners were forced to cut their labor force by 50% or more as a result of the recession; the largest employment reduction among all groups of small business owners. Nevertheless, the Gazelle Index survey results are consistent with the findings of others surveys. In a recent article by Ellis Cose, which cites a Washington Post-Kaiser-Harvard Poll, he noted that 60% of black adults expect their children to have a better living standard than themselves while only 36% of whites do.

The Gazelle Index is a national random survey of 631 CEOs who operate minority-owned, women-owned and nonminority-owned small businesses. It was designed by EuQuant and administered during November 2011. Each company included in the survey employed 10 to 100 workers and the results have a margin of error of + or -5%.

Last modified: December 7, 2011

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