Small and mid-size business owners are feeling more optimistic than they have for a long time, suggests a new survey, and experts say this could mean positive things for the overall economy — including for workers’ salaries and job-seekers’ prospects.
According to the PNC Economic Outlook, optimism is running at historic highs in all categories that the semiannual survey of small and medium-size business owners evaluates. This is reflected by the 85 percent of respondents who selected a positive emotion to describe how they feel about the business climate during the next six months, (from the time of the survey): hope (39 percent), enthusiasm (37 percent) and joy (9 percent).
The survey also points to some good news for the American workforce: 49 percent of business leaders anticipate increasing their employee compensation in the next six months and 32 percent expect to add full-time staff. However, four out of 10 respondents say it’s harder to hire qualified employees today compared to six months ago, with the biggest challenge being lack of experience or skill.
“Small businesses are a key source of economic activity and employment, and owners’ perceptions can be a good indicator of what’s to come,” says Gus Faucher, chief economist of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. “Our overall findings confirm that U.S. economic expansion will likely continue throughout 2018.”