We are pleased to share the spring 2016 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, a semi-annual study that uncovers the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners around the country.
This spring, small business owners’ optimism that local, national and global economies will improve is significantly down from previous years. At the same time, they are feeling less optimistic about expected revenue growth, while their intent to hire and apply for loans has also declined.
Anxiety is high regarding the impact of the fall elections, the effectiveness of U.S. government leaders and health care costs, possibly explaining why small businesses are taking a wait-and-see approach before making plans for hiring and growth.
Nearly four in five small business owners express concern over the effectiveness of U.S. government leaders. In addition, 67 percent say the presidential election will affect their business “a lot” or “somewhat,” while 53 percent believe the outcome of congressional elections will have an impact. When asked what issues are most important to them in the upcoming elections, business owners cite taxes and health care policy, as well as the economy and job growth.
Interestingly, while anxiety over the U.S. and/or global stock market has also increased since spring of 2015, concern over all other economic factors we surveyed for has declined, including corporate tax rates, the strength of the U.S. dollar, commodities prices, consumer spending, interest rates and credit availability.
Finally, of those planning to hire this year, nearly half report that candidate skill level is the single most important factor in their hiring decision. This is followed by fit with company culture and work experience. Only 3 percent cite education level as the most important factor. Furthermore, of the small business owners who plan to grow their workforce this year, 54 percent plan to add part-time employees – interestingly women business owners are more likely to hire part-time employees than their male counterparts (62 percent, vs. 49 percent).
Whether you’ve been in business for 30 years or are just starting out, facing staffing challenges or creating a strategy for growth, Bank of America is committed to providing you with the expertise to sustain and grow your small business.
Robb Hilson, Small Business Executive, Bank of America