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Florida ranks No. 4 in small-business economic outlook, survey finds

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Small-business owners say Florida is the fourth best state in the nation when it comes to the economy, according to a survey put out Tuesday by a consumer service website.

The study, conducted by Thumbtack.com, tracks business owner sentiment by gauging issues such as how easy they think it is to hire a new employee or get a business loan in their state. Florida scored a little more than 65 points on a 100-point scale, which is good enough for a “somewhat positive” economic outlook and beats the national average score of 63.75 points.

Florida’s part of the small business sentiment survey can be found on the Thumbtack.com website.

Most metrics in the survey were flat for the Sunshine State, with the biggest shift among Florida small-business owners coming from improved credit expectations, which inched up 1.6 points from September numbers to 40.2 percent.

Florida small businesses reported a small drop in hiring, though. About 29 percent of respondents said they had brought on a new employee in the past three months, compared to nearly 31 percent of companies who said they made a recent hire last month. The figure, however, is an increase over last October, when just under 27 percent of respondents said they had recently added workers.

Oklahoma snagged the top spot in the national poll, with Delaware and Texas taking the second and third slots and Georgia coming in just behind the Sunshine State for fifth place. All Southern states were within striking distance of the top five barring Kentucky, which scored a full three points below the regional average of 65.21 points. The Northeast had the gloomiest outlook among U.S. regions, with an average rating of 61.59 points among those states.

The city level breakdown brought another victory for Florida, with Jacksonville placing second on that list. Oklahoma City topped all cities in the poll, with Riverside, California; Charleston, South Carolina; and Houston rounding out the top five. No Florida metros made the bottom-five list, which was headed up by Providence, Rhode Island.

The Thumbtack.com survey was designed with economists from Bloomberg and got responses 17,705 small-business owners nationwide, including 1,683 from Florida. The next edition of the survey, covering November, will be released Dec. 1.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and FloridaPolitics.com. While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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