Economic Outlook Survey

Fall 2016

Small Businesses Have “Hope” But Few Hiring

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 moderate growth for the rest of this year that will carry into 2017.

Key Findings:

Most Positive View Since 2005: 71% of business owners are optimistic about the U.S. economy, the most in a fall survey since 2005. Asked what term best describes their feelings about business prospects, 55% chose "hope."

Few Plan to Hire: Only 22% expect to add employees, similar to 24% in the spring. Asked for a reason, 28% of those not hiring say they choose to do more work with fewer employees.

Unhappy with Candidates: 65% are not satisfied with how Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are addressing the issues most important to them as business owners, up from 53% in the spring.


The glass for small business owners appears half full instead of half empty, but they aren’t ready to buy a round for everyone.