businessman-happy-sad.jpgIt's raining research this week. Several studies of small business owners' attitudes have just been released, and depending on who you believe, owners are either more despondent than ever, or becoming more upbeat. Take your pick.

The quarterly Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index reports that small business owners' level of optimism fell to its lowest level in the survey's six-year history. Owners' assessment of their present situation declined, as did their future expectations.

The National Federation of Independent Business' Index of Small Business Optimism ticked down a point in July compared with June, but is still up from its rock-bottom low hit in March.

On the bullish side of things...over at HR giant Administaff, the Business Confidence Survey revealed 58% of small business owners expect the economy to turn around next year, while 14% say the turnaround will come before year-end. Guess that leaves 28% who believe the current downturn will never end. Some 23% of respondents said they are adding positions.

Similarly, the Discover Small Business Watch index rose more than a point in July. Some 30% of owners said they believe the economy is improving, compared with 26% in June.

How about you? Are you optimistic that we've seen the bottom of this economic mess?