The new findings of PNC's biannual survey, which began in 2003, reveal a decline in optimism among small business owners compared to six months ago. Just over one-fifth (22 percent) are optimistic about their own company's prospects during the next six months compared to 26 percent in the spring.
Survey Highlights: Hiring, Health Care, Housing
Hiring on Hold:
Only 16 percent intend to add full-time employees while eight percent plan to reduce staff. The remaining 73 percent will make no changes.
Business Investment Plans Increase:
63 percent plan to spend on capital investments in the next six months, up from 58 percent in the past two surveys. Technology equipment remains the top priority.
Little Demand for New Loans:
Only one in five, however, will probably/definitely take out a new loan or line of credit in the next six months. This is an increase from the 12 percent in spring and 19 percent a year ago.
Impact of Sequester and Healthcare Reform:
Nearly half (48 percent) say the $85 billion in federal spending cuts had no impact on the U.S. economic recovery in 2013 compared to 40 percent who say it had a negative effect. Meanwhile, 78 percent say the Affordable Care Act has had no impact on their hiring plans.