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New Florida Chamber Small Business Index Survey Shows Access to Capital & Economic Uncertainty Are Top Concerns

January 10, 2013 | Print Print

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:
Edie Ousley
850-521-1231 or 850-251-6261
eousley@flchamber.com

Recently Passed Fiscal Cliff Threatens Future Hiring Plans

Tallahassee, FL (January 10, 2013) –  For the third consecutive quarter, access to capital and economic uncertainty continue to rank as major obstacles preventing small business growth, according to quarterly results from the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Index Survey. While 29 percent of respondents plan to hire employees during the next six months, small businesses across Florida insist their hiring plans could change following the fiscal cliff deal passed by Congress earlier in the month.

“Small businesses remain Florida’s economic engine. Because small business owners employ millions of Floridians and create four out of five new jobs in Florida, it’s vital that we routinely monitor the health and trends of these important job creators,” said John Medina, Chair, Florida Chamber Small Business Council and President, Medina Consultants. “We must fight to make it easier for small business owners to obtain needed capital and financing. This will create economic stability and predictability which will allow small businesses to grow and create jobs.”

According to the survey, 26 percent of small businesses believe they are worse off today than six months ago – down from 35 percent in October. However, 21 percent of small businesses will stop their current hiring plans, and even worse, 44 percent are unsure of their hiring plans after the fiscal cliff deal did not fully extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.

A plurality — 43 percent — of respondents consider a lack of sales to be the main obstacle to hiring new employees and 39 percent of small business owners report lower sales numbers than the previous quarter. Only 25 percent of small business owners say their sales increased over the previous quarter. Most small business owners remain optimistic about economic growth and improvement. Almost half–49 percent– believe the economy will improve over the next year. A solid majority of business owners– 60 percent– expect the economy to improve over the next three years while only 30 percent that expect the economy to weaken in that time.

Additional key findings from the Florida Chamber’s Quarterly Small Business Index Survey:

  • Better Off: 32% believe their business is better off than six months ago – UP 4% from last quarter,
  • Worse Off: 26% believe their business is worse off today than six months ago – DOWN 9% from October, 2012,
  • Hiring:
    • 29% of employers plan to hire employees during the next six months – DOWN from 31% in October, 2013,
    • 43% identified lack of sales as an obstacle preventing them from hiring new employees, while 29% say economic uncertainty is keeping them from hiring,
  • Economic Uncertainty – Access to Capital: Of respondents needing financing during the last six months:
    • 17% were able to obtain it – DOWN from 5% in October,
    • 83% were not able to get the needed financing – UP 5% from October,
    • 49% believe it will be harder to obtain over the next six months compared to just 14% who believes it will be easier.
  • Economic Uncertainty – Regulations: 60% are worried or very worried that regulations, restrictions and taxes will negatively impact their ability to do business compared to 37% who are not very worried or not worried at all.
  • Economic Outlook:
    • 49% of small business owners expect the economy to improve over the next six months, and 60% expect the economy to improve over the next three years.
    • 35% believe the economy will weaken over the next year and 30% expect the economy will weaken over the next three years.
    • 53% expect company sales to increase over the next three months, and 66% expect their sales to increase over the next year – compared to only 14% expecting sales to decrease over each time period.

The Florida Chamber’s Small Business Index Survey was conducted electronically December 3-21, 2012 and received 679 unique responses.

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

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