Sunshine State small business outlook remains cautiously optimistic

Just over half of Florida’s small businesses plan to hire new personnel in the next six months, but entrepreneurs remain concerned about workforce availability and the general economic climate, the Florida Chamber of Commerce reported recently in Tallahassee.


Just over half of Florida’s small businesses plan to hire new personnel in the next six months, but entrepreneurs remain concerned about workforce availability and the general economic climate, the Florida Chamber of Commerce reported recently in Tallahassee.

The latest Florida Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index Survey revealed that small business owners considered economic uncertainty their top issue for the second consecutive quarter. Access to capital was also denoted as an area to be watchful over; and just under two-thirds (63 percent) of survey respondents anticipate increased sales — less than the 79 percent majority from last quarter.

“There is still optimism in Florida’s small business community, but the overall outlook is less positive than it was in the last quarterly survey,” Jerry Parrish, chief economist and research director for the Florida Chamber Foundation, said. “Certainly there are concerns in the international economy that may affect economic uncertainty for all Florida businesses.”

The chamber’s study results showed that uppermost on business owners’ minds were the issues of economic uncertainty (19 percent), workforce quality (15 percent), access to capital (13 percent), government regulations (10 percent), health care costs (8 percent) and lawsuit abuse (6 percent).

Regarding investments, over half (53 percent) intend to increase outlay over the next year. Fully one-third (33 percent) of those polled employ fewer than five full-time workers, while 46 percent have between five and 49 employees and 16 percent provide jobs for 100 to 500.

“Small businesses are the life blood of Florida’s economy and create two out of three jobs in our state,” Debbie Harvey, Florida Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council chair and president of Ron Jon Surf Shop, said. “The Florida Chamber will continue to champion small businesses in the effort to stimulate economic growth and create new jobs.”

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