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EMPLOYERS® Small Business Poll Finds Business Worries Keep 58 Percent Of Decision-makers Awake At Night

Small business decision-makers from across the country reported an unchanged opinion about the U.S. economy, but reported a slight increase in optimism about their own prospects for revenue growth in 2012 compared to the prior year, according to a recent Small Business Opinion Poll conducted by ORC International, commissioned by EMPLOYERS®. The poll revealed that 44 percent of small businesses believe the U.S. economy will improve in 2012. While in 2011, 46 percent believed the economy would be better. Small businesses are bullish about their own business revenue projections with 45 percent expecting revenue growth versus 17 percent expecting revenue declines.

Though 58 percent of small business decision-makers report business-related worries keep them up at night, the EMPLOYERS Small Business Opinion Poll found the 2012 figure to be significantly improved compared to results one year ago. This year, 40 percent responded they don’t worry about their businesses versus 30 percent who didn’t have sleep-depriving worries in 2011. The latest poll also reveals that today’s small business worries are more focused on issues related to growing their businesses (20 percent) rather than variables that are more out of their control like the economy.

EMPLOYERS Small Business Opinion Poll Snapshot:

  • 44 percent feel the U.S. economy will be better in 2012 than in 2011
  • 45 percent expect sales growth this year versus 41 percent in 2011
  • 23 percent are currently at pre-recession revenue levels
  • 21 percent are currently hiring versus just 15 percent a year ago
  • 21 percent plan to hire additional part-time or seasonal workers for the summer

Industry-specific Trends

The restaurant industry segment reported the strongest optimism and expectation for growth in the latest EMPLOYERS Small Business Opinion Poll with 61 percent expecting the U.S. economy to improve in 2012 and 61 percent saying they expect their businesses to grow over 2011 levels. The restaurant industry also leads the way in job creation plans among small businesses with 39 percent saying they are currently hiring and 42 percent indicating they plan to hire additional workers for the summer season. Other industries feeling more bullish about their ability to grow revenue in 2012 include the communication industry (53 percent), manufacturing (52 percent) and financial services (51 percent).

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