The latest Paychex Business Sentiment Report shows the sentiment among business owners when it comes to a number of things – most notably overall business outlook and the U.S. economy – is trending up since the last report in July 2018. The report, issued by Paychex, Inc., a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, benefits, human resources, and insurance services, is the result of polling 600 randomly selected business owners with 500 employees or less about topics likely impacting their profitability and prospects for growth.

On a scale of 1-100 with 1 representing the highest level of pessimism and 100 representing the peak of optimism, business owners’ overall business outlook is up six points since July from 65/100 to 71/100 and their confidence in the U.S. economy is up five points over the same time period to 65/100. A complementary study of the same sample of business owners revealed economic growth is the top issue they’re watching heading into November’s midterm election.

Other topics business owners continue to be optimistic about since July’s report include:

• Access to capital: +3 points to 65/100

• Ability to make capital investments: +3 points to 62/100

• Overall regulatory environment: +3 points to 53/100

• Ability to raise wages: +2 points to 51/100

• Ability to fill open positions with qualified candidates today: +1 point to 51/100

“While the tight labor market is still making it difficult for some businesses to hire and retain qualified candidates, it’s encouraging to see that today’s business owners aren’t letting that impede their general outlook or ability to grow,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. “It will be interesting to see what impact the consistent level of optimism plays in the midterm elections.”

The only topic to experience a slight drop compared to July’s report is respondents’ ability to find new customers, which slipped a single point to 68/100. However, among all topics covered in the survey, business owners’ confidence in attracting new business still ranked second only to overall business outlook (71/100).

To view an infographic and read further data analysis, including sentiment by business size, geography, industry, and more from the October 2018 Paychex Business Sentiment Report, visit

According to the latest Paychex Business Sentiment Report, confidence among business owners experienced a slight uptick since July in nearly every category.