The National Small Business Association released its 2013 Mid-Year Economic Report on Tuesday, indicating an improved overall economic outlook for small business owners in the U.S., 

although they still face challenges getting financing and improving their revenues and hiring more employees.

Forty percent of the small business owners surveyed said today's economy is better off, the highest proportion it's been in five years. But that didn't mean their businesses are better off than last year.

“Unfortunately, small-business owners didn't express that same positive growth when it comes to their own business,” said NSBA president and CEO Todd McCracken in a statement. “Past and projected growth in jobs and revenues remained stagnant while small businesses' availability to garner financing dropped—two key indicators that go hand-in-hand.”

Nevertheless, 65 percent of the small businesses surveyed reported they are able to obtain adequate financing, but that figure is down from 73 percent six months ago. Despite the significant gains in economic outlook, small businesses continue to cite economic uncertainty as the main challenge they face, followed by decline in customer spending and cost of health insurance.

The NSBA also asked small business about policy issues such as health care reform and taxation—both of which remain major points of concern and confusion. Only one-in-five small business owners said they have a clear understanding of how the new health care law will impact their firms. On the tax front, almost half (43 percent) say they have been the subject of an IRS audit or follow-up action in the last 10 years.

“A unique and very disappointing finding from our survey: the number one issue small business wants our elected officials to address isn't even a policy imperative, it's for them to end the partisan gridlock and work together,” said NSBA chair David Ickert of Air Tractor, Inc. in Olney, Texas. “There are too many important issues facing our nation for this continued failure from policymakers.”