Owning a franchise opportunity was a popular option among executives and managers who had lost their positions as a result of the economic downturn. It offered them a degree of financial security in an increasingly uncertain and fluctuating business climate.

However, as the recovery begins to gain ground, and consumer and small business confidence begins to inch its way back to normal, franchising has continued to be a popular option. While revenues among big corporations are stabilizing, that doesn't mean the feelings of uncertainty and insecurity surrounding workers' jobs have faded.

"As the economy regains its momentum, many are realizing that this is the right time to start a new business of their own. The freedom, flexibility and support of a franchise are all attractive," Cliff Welles, a regional director for a franchisor, told Naples News.

According to the source, there are three factors that are continuing to boost franchise investments, all of which are related to the current economic milieu. First, it cites unemployment statistics. The most recently released figures from the Labor Department found that unemployment was at 9.1 percent in May, up from 8.9 percent two months prior.

As a result, many Americans have stopped looking for employment, removing themselves from the jobs market and deciding to become their own boss. Rather than opening an independent small business, which poses a great number of risks, many businesspeople are opting for the support a franchisor offers, including marketing and financing.

While the 2008 financial crisis devastated the credit market, lending has seen marked improvements over the past year. Large financial institutions such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase have all announced that they plan to increase their commitment to the sector over the next year. In fact, JP Morgan announced it would increase small business lending to $12 billion in 2011 - a 20 percent increase over 2010.

This doesn't mean that credit doesn't remain tight, though. Naples News writes, "A combination of reduced home values, reduced equity and tight credit from traditional lenders has forced some buyers to seek less expensive franchises, or those that offer franchising with little or no collateral."

Additionally, many franchisors have strong relationships with local financial institutions, making it easier for them to be approved for loans, as lending officers see the franchise method as a less risky proposition thanks to its tried-and-true business model.

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