Survey: Small Business Owners Bearish, Less Likely To Hire

NEW YORK (AP) – Small business owners are more pessimistic about the economy and less likely to hire than they were at the end of last year, according to a survey released by the National Small Business Association.

         Forty-five percent of the 1,134 owners surveyed in July and August expect the economy to expand in the next 12 months, down from 54 percent in a survey taken in December. The number of owners expecting the economy to remain the same was 45 percent, up from 34 percent. Ten percent expect a recession, down from 12 percent.

         That dip in optimism was reflected in owners' expectations for growth opportunities for their companies. Eight percent said they foresee opportunities in the next three months, down from 11 percent in December. Fourteen percent see opportunities in the next three to 6 months, versus 18 percent. There was little change among those forecasting growth opportunities in the next six months to a year — 30 percent versus 31 percent.

         Hiring plans also showed the caution. Thirty-seven percent said they expect to increase their payroll in the next 12 months, compared to 43 percent at the end of 2016.

         – by AP Reporter Joyce M. Rosenberg


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