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PNC survey a mixed bag of pessimism, hope

The latest PNC Bank survey of select Pennsylvania business owners shows a mixed reaction to the future business climate, with optimism surrounding profits and hiring but little change in overall optimism.

The Spring 2014 survey of small and mid-sized Pennsylvania business owners showed only 24 percent are optimistic about their company’s prospects, down a shade from the Fall 2013 survey, when 26 percent of companies said they were optimistic.
That percentage did rise from 20 percent during the Spring 2013 survey, however.
Only 14 percent of the businesses surveyed said they were pessimistic about their businesses’ prospects, down from 18 percent in the fall.
The future of hiring was more encouraging. While only 6 percent of businesses planned to hire in the fall, that percentage rose to 13 in the latest survey. Seven percent plan to reduce full-time staff, according to the survey. Of the businesses not planning to hire, 36 percent cited the lack of local economic turnaround and 23 percent said they plan to do more work with fewer employees.
Other survey findings for the next six months:
• About 71 percent of businesses say a minimum wage hike will have no effect, while only 7 percent said it would cause them to cut staff.
• About 22 percent of businesses plan to increase employee compensation pay, slightly up from 20 percent in the fall.
• On home prices, 36 percent expected home prices in their market to rise, compared with 53 percent in the fall.
• Only 11 percent said they either “probably” or “definitely” will take out a loan or line of credit. That’s down from 15 percent in the fall.

Michael Sadowski

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