Small-business owners' confidence in the economy rose in May, reaching its highest level in seven months, according to Discover Financial Services.

The Riverwoods, Ill., credit card company said Tuesday that its Small Business Watch had increased 2.35 points, to 87.4. The index was pegged at 100 when it was created in 2006.

Thirty-five percent of small-business owners said the economy is getting better, up from 31% in April. Fifty-one percent of respondents said the economy is getting worse, down from 52%.

The increase "could be significant" because of its timing, Ryan Scully, Discover's director of business credit cards, said in a press release.

Discover conducted its poll in early May, about a week after Greece's banking crisis hit and stock market indexes plunged.

"Small-business owners are seeing improvement in the economy in spite of bad news," Scully said.