A recently released United States Chamber of Commerce study revealed that although the national economy continues to falter and many small business owners believe the country is on the wrong track, the outlook is better for local economies.

Specifically, nearly half (45 percent) of respondents said they believe their local economy is headed in the right direction, with 69 percent expressing a similar sentiment in regard to their own business.

More than one-third (34 percent) of the 1,322 small business executives who took part in the Q4 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Study said they expect their local economy to improve over the next two years, but have yet to begin hiring again. A total of 63 percent said they plan to keep the same number of employees this year, while 26 percent anticipate hiring.

Those reticent to hire cited economic uncertainty, lack of sales and uncertainty about what Washington will do next as their primary reasons.

Entrepreneurs looking to hire may wish to seek advice about business loans from their local community bank, which can also help them come up with a financial plan to improve their chances of weathering the recession.