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VOL. 133 | NO. 32 | Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Small Business Optimism, Revenue, Hiring Up

By JOYCE M. ROSENBERG, AP Business Writer

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Small business owners are more upbeat about where their companies and the economy are headed.

That's one of the findings of a survey released Monday by the advocacy group National Small Business Association and ZipRecruiter, an online employment marketplace. Nearly 60 percent of the 1,633 owners the survey questioned in December and January anticipate that the economy will grow in the next 12 months. That compares to 45 percent in a survey taken in July by the NSBA.

Their optimism is likely fed by a good performance for their companies. Fifty-three percent said their revenue rose over the last 12 months, the first time in a decade that a majority of owners surveyed by the NSBA reported increases. Two-thirds expect their revenue to grow in the coming 12 months.

Hiring also increased notably – 30 percent of owners reported they had added jobs in the past 12 months, compared with 22 percent who reported job gains in the previous survey. The NSBA noted that less than a third of small companies reported that they'd hired in the past year; that's consistent with findings of surveys by banks and other groups that have shown owners are hiring conservatively.

Hiring plans were little changed, also in line with the findings of other surveys. Thirty-eight percent of owners expect job gains in the coming year versus 37 percent who had that expectation in July.

One reason why some companies may not be hiring – they're turning to automation to get work like accounting and scheduling done. Nearly a third said they anticipate using automation in the coming year, and 9 percent of those companies said they'd need fewer employees to get their work done.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 76 145 2,480
MORTGAGES 65 148 3,042
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 12 20 497
BUILDING PERMITS 213 310 5,313
BANKRUPTCIES 43 87 1,866
BUSINESS LICENSES 14 40 936
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 23 52 1,064
MARRIAGE LICENSES 8 21 364

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