In separate surveys released last month, Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. have found that many business owners have put more investment into their hiring efforts over the last 12 months. Respondents cited a variety of economic reasons for their tempered confidence.
According to the Bank of America Corp. survey, nearly 70 percent of owners said they project an increase in revenue over the next year. Stronger cash flow and revenue are two of the prominent factors behind their improved spirits. They remain confident about their local and state economies while holding reservations about international and national issues that could prove detrimental to their businesses.
About three-quarters of all respondents cited government ineffectiveness and health care costs as potential roadblocks on their path to success. Seventy percent expressed concerns about rising prices of chief commodities.
In the Wells Fargo study, business owners reported mild optimism about the current economy. Sixty-seven percent expect their businesses to remain in good standing, a one percent increase from 2012. Although loans are now easier for small business owners to obtain compared with the economic decline of 2008, many respondents say they are hesitant to pursue this route. Only 14 percent plan to apply for a small business loan in 2014, down from last year’s 19 percent.
The Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo surveys are consistent with other reports that indicate business owners’ increased confidence. Both surveys, in fact, found that business owners were currently in the midst of bringing on new employees. Of Wells Fargo respondents, 21 percent plan to hire staffers by the end of 2014. The Bank of America survey revealed that 52 percent were willing to hire, a whopping 21 percent increase from 12 months ago.