Sixty-five percent of leaders SunTrust surveyed at mid-sized companies feel better about their businesses’ financial well-being, compared with just 38 percent last year. JASON GETZ / JGETZ@AJC.COM

Businesses upbeat about growing as economy grows

Business owners are investing in new technology and working to retain employees, signs they believe the economy continues to expand and opportunities will continue to grow, according to a new survey by Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks.

SunTrust said 65 percent of leaders it surveyed at mid-sized companies, those with annual revenue of $10 million to $100 million, feel better about their businesses’ financial well-being, compared with just 38 percent last year.

Smaller companies, those with revenue of $1 million to $10 million, are just as upbeat, with 62 percent saying their financial well-being is better than it was last year, SunTrust said.

The results mirror findings by the National Federation of Independent Business, which said earlier this month that U.S. small business optimism was at a one-year high last month. The NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index hit 94.4 last year, up 2.3 points, the second straight month of gains.

SunTrust said decision-makers at about 1,675 small and mid-size businesses participated in its survey.

Among the mid-sized companies, 59 percent say they are investing in new technology, 51 percent are managing cash flow more effectively, 49 percent are expanding into new domestic markets and 48 percent are working to hire or retain full time works.

Not only are business owners confident, U.S. consumers are also upbeat, and the more confident consumers are, the more likely they are to make big purchases, which helps fuel manufacturing and higher employment as companies add workers to fill a growing number of factory orders.

U.S. consumer confidence was at a five-year high this month, according to the Conference Board. It was the third straight month of increasing confidence and highest level since January 2008.

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