Triangle entrepreneurs remain optimistic about the economy entering 2018 and as a result more are expecting to increase capital spending as well as adding workers, according to the latest Quarterly Outlook of Triangle Entrepreneurs.

The overall score of the survey came in at the second highest level (116.17) since the survey began in late 2014. the previous high was 121.83 in the second quarter of 2015. The latest score was 3 points higher than than of the third quarter.

The survey, which is conducted by the City of Raleigh and the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic, reports that 63.6 percent of entrepreneurs plan to increase hiring over the next six months. That’s up more than 3 percentage points from the previous survey.

The percentage of entrepreneurs planning to boost capital spending climbed even more, hitting 58.5 percent. That’s nearly 6 points higher, survey to survey.

Overall optimism remained at 85.4 percent, the same as in Q3.

The survey launched in the fourth quarter of 2014, and Lewis Sheats, associate professor of practice in entrepreneurship in the NC State University Poole College of Management and executive director of the Entrepreneurship Clinic, noted a change this time.

“What is intriguing about these data is that this is the first time where there has been an increase in optimism from Q3 to Q4,” he explained.

“In the last two iterations of changes from Q3 to Q4, we’ve seen declines in optimism. But, now, across all three areas—sales, capital spending, and employment growth—we see equal or greater percentages of entrepreneurs being more optimistic. These data suggest an inflection point, and we will watch what happens over time with this trend.”

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