A new survey released Monday (Feb. 12) from the National Small Business Association (NSBA) and ZipRecruiter found small business (SMB) owners are more optimistic than they were a few months ago.
Reports in The Washington Post said the survey found that nearly 60 percent of more than 1,600 entrepreneurs — surveyed in December and January — expect the national economy to improve over the next year. That’s up from 45 percent of those who said the same last July.
Analysts linked the increased optimism to improved business performance: 53 percent of small business owners surveyed said their revenues were up over the last year. That’s the first time in 10 years most entrepreneurs surveyed by the NSBA reported such performance.
Two-thirds of small business owners told researchers they expect revenue to grow in the coming year too.
The NSBA also saw an increase in hiring activity, with nearly a third of survey respondents noting they had added more staff in the last year. That’s up from 22 percent of those who said the same in the last NSBA survey, according to reports, though less than a third of entrepreneurs plan to hire more staff in the coming year. Reports said that’s in line with previous, separate surveys that found “conservative” hiring practices among the nation’s SMBs.
Data released earlier this month from ADP found that although 234,000 jobs were added by U.S. companies in January — surpassing analyst estimates — CBIZ data found a 3.14 percent decline in hiring growth among small businesses during the month. Separate analysis from Wells Fargo and Gallup found about a third of SMBs plan to increase hiring in the next year.
Reports said limited hiring performance could be partially attributed to the fact that more small business owners are automating processes. Nearly a third told researchers they would deploy automated solutions in the coming 12 months, while 9 percent admitted they would need fewer employees because of it.