Small business crystal ball: Don't look for boom in 2016

Evan Mountain, owner of Fred Astaire Dance Studio, poses in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. Mountain expects business at his dance studio in suburban Detroit to grow in 2016 along with the auto industry. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Don't look for a small business boom in 2016.

Companies in some industries and in certain parts of the U.S. may have a strong year, but overall, small businesses can expect a continuation of the slow, uneven growth they experienced in 2015.

Surveys show owners generally have lowered expectations for their companies in 2016. A survey taken in November by Wells Fargo & Co. found 70 percent of owners expect their companies' financial situation to be good in 12 months, down from 74 percent in a survey during the summer. Forty-seven percent predicted their revenue would be higher, down from 51 percent.

Sluggish consumer spending, the slowdown in the gas and oil industries and the still-unpredictable housing market are expected to keep companies cautious. Uneasiness about possible terror attacks also is likely to add to the uncertainty.