Economic Outlook Survey

Spring 2016


Small Businesses Cautious Amid Pessimism about Economy

PNC’s Chief Economist Stuart Hoffman says the new findings reinforce the fundamentals are solid for the U.S. economy and support PNC’s forecast for real GDP growth of 2.0 percent this year, a slight slowing from the 2015 pace.

Key Findings:

Positive Outlook for Profits: Nearly half (45 percent) of business owners expect profits to increase during the next six months while 51 percent expect their sales to go up.

Growing Concerns about the Economy: 43 percent are pessimistic about the U.S. economy, the most since 2012. The survey was conducted when the stock market was down significantly. Amide the presidential primaries, 54 percent were not satisfied the potential candidates were addressing key issues for business.

Hiring Plans Unchanged: One in four (24 percent) plan to add employees, similar to 26% last fall and 22 percent a year ago.


Small business owners nationwide are increasingly optimistic about their prospects as a growing number plan to hire more full-time employees and give pay raises during the next six months, according to the new PNC Economic Outlook survey findings.


Positive Outlook for Profits

PNC’s survey findings show a positive trend over the past five years among small businesses when it comes to making money. Nearly half (45%) expect profits to increase while 41% expect the bottom line to remain the same. Only 12% expect a decrease, the lowest since 2007. In terms of sales, 51% expect an increase compared to 52% in the fall.

 

 

 


Growing Concerns about the Economy

43% are pessimistic about the U.S. economy, the most since 2012, and a 10 percentage point increase from the fall. 30% are pessimistic about their local economy, which is the highest since 2013. At the time the survey was conducted, the stock market was down significantly. Amid the presidential primaries, 53% were not satisfied the potential candidates were addressing the key issues for businesses.