With plenty of CEOs at small businesses saying the economic recovery is stagnant and not going anywhere, a recent confidence survey shows many small-business leaders believe the economy is no better off than it was two years ago.
The Vistage International Small Business CEO Confidence Index, which is released quarterly, shows overall confidence is at its lowest point in two years after two consecutive quarters of decreasing optimism.
Forty percent of those surveyed said the biggest concern is economic uncertainty, with staffing and financial issues also listed as top worries.
“While firms do not expect an outright recession, they anticipate that the economic growth will be very slow during the year ahead,” said Dr. Richard Curtin, of the University of Michigan, who directed the survey for Vistage, in an announcement. “As a result, they have curtailed investments and hiring, and anticipate smaller growth in profits.”
“Considering that small business has been responsible for 75 percent of net new job growth in the U.S. over the past 15 years, if the current trend continues, it’s unlikely the employment picture will improve between now and the 2012 election,” he said.
In the first quarter of 2011, 54 percent of small-business CEOs anticipated net employee growth, but at the latest survey, the number decreased to 46 percent. Similarly, those with planned investments fell from 48 percent of respondents to 37 percent of those surveyed since the beginning of the year.
Fewer than half of the CEOs surveyed anticipated increased profits for the year, and just one in five anticipated any economic improvement in the year ahead.