For the first time since 1997, the majority of small businesses—53 percent—reported increases in revenues, and the overwhelming majority—84 percent—are confident in the future of their business, according to the National Small Business Association (NSBA) 2017 Year-End Economic Report. Released by NSBA and ZipRecruiter, the report shows decade-highs in small-business outlook.
“In the past two years, the number of small-business owners who say they expect to see an economic expansion in the next year has more than doubled,” said NSBA President Todd McCracken. “Unfortunately, the ever-rising cost of healthcare remains the biggest challenge small businesses face.”
The report features a section on workforce and hiring, which zeroes in on hiring practices, wages and automation issues, as well as recruitment and retention trends. Although 37 percent of small business owners have increased part-time employees in the past five years, the majority were new part-time employees, whereas just 17 percent reduced current full-time employees to part-time.
And while one-third of small businesses expect to implement some kind of automation in the next year, of those, only nine percent say it will result in fewer employees. In fact, many more (24 percent) say it will result in needing more employees.
“We tend to think of corporate America when we think of career ladders, however small businesses have ample opportunities for career growth,” said Cathy Barrera, chief economist at online employment marketplace ZipRecruiter. “Sixty-six percent of all small businesses offer opportunities for promotion, and at companies with more than five employees, that number rises to 85 percent.”
There were few surprises when it comes to policy, particularly the fact that “end the partisan gridlock and work together” is the number one thing small businesses want policymakers to do.
The full report is available here.