Owners of small and medium-sized businesses are more optimistic about the economy than they were a year ago, but fewer plan to add jobs, according to the Principal Financial Well-Being Index: Business Owners

A total of 31 percent of business owners said in July they are optimistic about the outlook for 2014, up from 26 percent the same period a year ago. A total of 48 percent said their business financials improved over last year at the same time, and 55 percent believe their business financials will improve in the next 12 months.


But spending isn't going up, as 62 percent of those surveyed have surplus capital, and three quarters of them say they aren't spending at this point. Only 35 percent plan to add staff, down from 42 percent last year, and 14 percent plan to reduce staff.


The index shows that business owners are optimistic but are still wary of forces beyond their control, said Amy Friedrich, a vice president at Principal Financial Group Inc.


The index surveyed 604 American business owners of small and medium-sized businesses with 10 to 500 workers, and is conducted by Harris Interactive. It was conducted between July 1 and July 26. More information can be found online.