Small-business(Courtesy of Wells Fargo)

Small-business owners are the most optimistic they have been in five years, according to the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, and expect their businesses to increase cash flow and hire more employees in 2014.

In a small-business survey conducted Jan. 6-10, the overall score increased to a positive 45 (+45) in January, up from a positive 24 (+24) in October 2013. While this score is the highest it has been since the third quarter of 2008, it is still well below pre-recession levels.

Several factors contributed to this quarter’s increase in small business optimism compared to fourth quarter 2013:

Wells Fargo/Gallup Small-Business Index Scores: Q1 2013–Q1 2014

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