2017 Small Business Outlook Report

 In Research, Small Business

99.7% of businesses in the US are small businesses (500 employees or less). Really small businesses, or those with less than 20 employees, make up 89.6% of US businesses. So what does the small business outlook look like in 2017? Bank of America released its Small Business Owner Report in November and Snagajob highlighted its most important points. See below for the 2017 small business outlook.

Economic Confidence

Among the findings, Bank of America found that small business owners’ economic confidence for the year ahead is flat. Just 37 percent expect their local economy to improve over the next 12 months, while just 31 percent said the same for the national economy. Those numbers are on par with the results from Spring 2016, but down about 25 percentage points year-over-year.

Top Economic Concerns

The 2016 election year no doubt left small and large business owners alike with a feeling of uncertainty. Though this survey was conducted prior to election day, at the time, small business owners said these are their top five economic concerns going into 2017:

  1. Health care costs
  2. Effectiveness of the U.S. government
  3. Strength of the U.S. dollar
  4. Consumer spending
  5. S. and/or global stock market

Growth, Hiring and Revenue Expectations

Growth plans for the year ahead are steady compared to Spring 2016 results, but like economic confidence, those plans are down significantly from Fall 2015.

More than half of small business owners say they expect revenue to increase, while 36 percent expect it to stay the same. The remaining 12 percent expect revenue to decrease, which is on par with results from the first half of 2016.

In a survey conducted in November 2016 to Snagajob small business customers, 63 percent stated they were optimistic in their hiring outlook and plan on increasing their workforce.

Given that economic confidence, growth plans and revenue expectations are all flat, it’s no surprise that 64 percent plan to hold off on hiring more workers in 2017. Of Snagajob small business customers, 37 percent stated they would either “wait and see” or decrease their workforce in the coming year.

New vs. Well-Established Small Business Perspectives

Bank of America’s report also broke down the perspectives of new small business owners (0-5 years), growing small business owners (6-10 years) and well-established small business owners (11+ years).

The results were consistent across the board – the older the companies, the less confident they are in the local/national economy over the next 12 months. The same was true for revenue expectations, growth plans and hiring plans. The younger the companies, the more optimistic and likely they are to grow their business in the new year.

What About Your Small Business?

Do these statistics ring true for your small business as well? What do you think of these results? Let us know in the comment below.

Read Bank of America’s full report here.

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