PNC Economic Outlook Survey --
Business Owners' Outlook Weakens for Sales and Hiring as November Elections Loom
A soft outlook on sales has only one in four small business owners planning to hire in the next six months as business optimism retreats ahead of next month's presidential election, according to the latest findings of the PNC Economic Outlook.
Sales, Profits and Hiring Take a Hit: The survey, which gauges the mood and sentiment of small and medium sized business owners, found that only 46 percent expect their sales to increase in the next six months, significantly lower than last spring (58 percent). Profits are also expected to be lower, as only 38 percent expect an increase compared to 43 percent in the spring. Only 23 percent expect to add new employees, lower than in spring (28 percent) but still higher than a year ago (20%).
- Are You Better Off?
One out of two (48 percent) owners say they are currently "worse off" compared to 2007, when the recession officially began, while only 26 percent claim they are "better off." When asked how they have adapted to survive in the new economic environment, more than two-fifths (42 percent) said they seek greater productivity or efficiency from their employees, and one-third (33 percent) have reduced or consolidated their operations since 2007.
- House Prices Rebounding:
In a dramatic turnaround from the past five years, two-fifths (37 percent) expect home prices in their local market to rise in the coming year, while only 13 percent expect them to drop. A year ago those numbers were almost exactly reversed (14 percent expected a rise, 32 percent expected a drop).