We’ve found ourselves in an interesting time for lending. While small businesses are not hiring, they are as optimistic as they’ve been in some time. Our SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard® survey found 75 percent of small business owners optimistic about the economy, up from a year-over-year low of 45 percent in September 2012. However, hiring fell 0.3 percent in May. While small businesses are not seeing enough demand to bring in new hires, our data suggests small businesses are profitable right now. That means if they are seeking lending, they’re more likely to get it, so we appear to have the right climate for the lending markets to open up. The other thing to consider is that many small businesses have better credit and better balance sheets than they did a couple years ago, making it easier for them to secure loans. Whether or not lending really picks up, though, will likely depend on three factors – improvement in the housing market, new businesses starting up and an overall increase in demand. Michael Alter is the CEO and President of SurePayroll, a Paychex Company. SurePayroll is an online service designed to help small business owners manage their payroll and the associated taxes online. Built for small business, you can easily run your payroll anytime or anywhere—they even offer a mobile payroll app.