Every spring and fall, we survey small and mid-size business owners across the United States for their outlook over the next six months about their business and the economy in general.
In the spring 2015 survey, we found business owners to be the most optimistic since 2007 on the economy, and increasingly optimistic about their company’s sales and profits after cashing in on lower energy prices. The good news is that this translates to business owners planning wage increases for their existing employees. The bad news - they are not planning to hire new staff.
The positive expectations for business prospects seem to be at least partially driven by the plunge in energy prices. Of note, crude oil dropped to six-year lows in the tail-end of 2014. As such, 55 percent of small business owners surveyed expect the savings from lower energy prices to positively impact their profitability and 47 percent say the same about sales.
The drop in energy prices impacts every level of business, from suppliers to manufacturers, to transportation firms. According to our findings, consumers may also get some relief within the next six months.
We call this effect “easing inflation” and expect it to drive up consumer spending in the months ahead, which will bode well for small businesses as the roots of our economy.
The expected success of small businesses in 2015 directly supports what PNC forecasts will be the fastest GDP growth in the U.S. since 2004.
Read all of the PNC Economic Outlook Survey findings, both nationally and by region.
Stuart Hoffman views small business success as a driving force for economic growth.
In the spring 2015 survey, we found business owners to be the most optimistic since 2007 on the economy, and increasingly optimistic about their company’s sales and profits after cashing in on lower energy prices.
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