Small-business owners’ confidence rose in April, and a growing number are reporting improving business conditions, according to new data Discover Financial Services released this week.

The Discover Small Business Watch rose to 85.1, up 10.4 points from 75.7 in March. A similar increase occurred in April 2009, when the index rose 10.3 points to 88.5 from 78.2 the previous month.

Discover did not note any reason for the spring surge in confidence, but Ryan Scully, Discover business card credit director, said in a statement: “Small-business owners are more positive this month about where the current economy stands and where it appears to be heading.”

The Business Watch is a monthly report measuring the relative economic confidence of 750 randomly selected small-business owners based on their responses to six questions. Its creators established a base index of 100 when the Watch began in August 2006.

Some 30% of small-business owners said they expect economic conditions for their businesses to improve in the next six months compared with only 20% who said so in March. Some 48% of respondents said the economic climate is getting worse, down from 53%.

Asked about plans to invest in their businesses, 23% of respondents said they would increase spending, up from 18% who said so in March, while 43% said they plan to decrease spending, down from 52%. Some 31% said they plan no spending changes, and 3% were not sure.

Some 13% of small-business owners said the economy is good or excellent–the highest percentage to say so since August 2008, on the eve of the recession. Only 7% of respondents in March said the economy was good or excellent. Some 29% rated the economy as fair, while 57% said it was poor.

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