More than their peers across the nation, Florida business owners fee optimistic about their prospects. This may be why KB Tampa construction is roaring; it’s looking great for prospective home owners to build in Florida. It’s never been more exciting than today to be an entrepreneur in SouthFlorida, and business looks bright for years to come
PNC: Florida business owners outlook brightens
Florida business owners are more optimistic about the local economy and the prospects for their own businesses.
More than four in 10 owners of small and mid-sized companies in the Sunshine State – about 42 percent – feel good about their own firm’s prospects during the next six months, according to the latest findings of the PNC Economic Outlook survey.
That’s double the 20 percent of Florida business owners who felt optimistic when surveyed by PNC last autumn.
A lot of the optimism has to do with the strength of the housing marketing, said Mekael Teshome, PNC economist. “Housing drives Florida and the swing is much stronger in Florida,” he said.
More Florida business owners are optimistic than their counterparts nationwide. Nationally, 37 percent of owners felt confident about their firm’s prospects. Yet fewer Florida business owners plan to hire more employees. About 17 percent of the Floridians surveyed said they intend to add full-time workers, compared to 22 percent nationwide.
The difference isn’t large and there is a reason for it, Teshome said.
“The depth of the recession in Florida was more severe and we’ve had a very volatile recovery,” he said. “We’ve had four or five years of recovery and every year there’s some major hurdle to overcome.”
Volatility over the last four years has made firms more cautious, he said. “They see the improvement in the economy but they are unsure if there is something around the corner that will slow things down.”
Still, the percentage of employers who expect to cut their workforce is slowly shrinking, Teshome said, so overall, the labor market is improving.
Prospects for a pay raise in Florida are a little dimmer than in other parts of the country.
In Florida, nearly one-quarter or 24 percent of those surveyed, said they plan to increase employees’ compensation during the next six months, up from 20 percent last autumn. Nationally, the current number is 32 percent.
“That reflects a lot of slack in the labor market,” Teshome said. “There’s a lot of unemployed and underemployed people … It’s still an employers’ market.”
More than 58 percent of the Florida business owners said they plan to spend on capital investments in the next six months, with technology the top priority, followed by business equipment, as employers try to do more with the workforce that’s in place.
“When business has squeezed all the productivity it can from the existing workforce, they’ll have to hire more people,” Teshome said. “I expect to see the hiring numbers to improve, it’s just going to take some time.”
Without the tax increases and spending cuts that occurred in 2013, Teshome said he expects PNC’s survey in autumn 2014 to reflect improvements.
The Artemis Strategy Group conducted the telephone survey from Jan. 21 through March 7 among 501 small and mid-sized business owners nationally, including 151 in Florida.
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