In Pennsylvania, 63 percent of small-business owners are positive this fall about the U.S. economy, up from 48 percent in the spring, according to a twice-yearly survey by PNC Financial Services Group Inc.
More than three quarters, or 78 percent, are confident in their own company’s prospects, up from 67 percent in the spring, PNC said.
However, owners are uncertain about profits and unlikely to hire, the PNC survey found. About 60 percent expect to earn a profit this year, down from 73 percent in the spring. Nine percent expect an increase in hiring over the next six months, down from 17 percent in the spring.
Asked about the election, six in 10 Pennsylvania small-business owners said they were dissatisfied with the choice between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, according to the PNC survey.
Mixed readings also affected the index of small-business optimism produced by the National Federation of Independent Business. For September, the index slipped to 94.1, down from 94.4 in August. That is below the index’s 40-year average of 98, according to NFIB.
Businesses surveyed for the index expected improved economic conditions overall, but showed little appetite to hire or invest, NFIB said.
“The bottom line is that small business owners are deeply uncertain about the future, and that is affecting their decisions,” Juanita Duggan, president and CEO of the Washington-based group, said in a statement.