A new survey of small business owners shows more optimism in their ranks about the future than at any time since before the great recession started.

The Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index shot up to 100 in February, up from 80 in November and up 33 points from a year ago.

New Jersey Wells Fargo Business Area Manager Lou Gallo says "these results are really impressive, and makes us feel really good about what the country is going to look like in the next 12 to 24 months."

Gallo says small business revenues are increasing, and small business owners are doing well at building income and cash on their balance sheets.

"I think people are looking forward to improving ... there is a lot of consolidation going on."

"They are using alternative revenue channels, like social media and electronic ways of reaching out to customers, and I think that that is really helping them, as well as they have cleaned up their expenses over the years, and they have consolidated. And we feel really good about what is happening."

About 40 percent of the small business owners in the survey also reported that it is now easier for them to access credit. That is up from 34 percent in November. And 64 percent said their cash flow has improved, up from 55 percent in November.

Small business obstacles named in the survey include over regulation and healthcare benefits costs.

"Healthcare costs going up. There is a lot going on in the world right now around those two issues. And I think those are going to be the concerns that are going to take us through the small businesses over the next two years."

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Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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