More small business owners are planning to add employees and boost compensation levels, signaling a slightly more positive economic outlook for 2014, according to the most recent Business Confidence Survey released by Insperity, Inc. One half of respondents plan to add employees, a significant increase over 26 percent in October and up from 40 percent in the July survey; 47 percent are maintaining current staffing levels versus 68 percent last fall; and just over 3 percent are planning layoffs, down from 5 percent in October.
In addition, Insperity announced that average compensation for the fourth quarter 2013 was up 2.9 percent, while bonuses were down 6.9 percent compared to the fourth quarter 2012. Average commissions received by worksite employees reflected an increase of 1.7 percent.
According to the survey, 92 percent of respondents expect to meet or exceed their 2013 performance, up significantly from 68 percent in October, while 8 percent expect to do worse in 2014. Concerning the timing of an economic rebound, 38 percent think one is currently in process versus 26 percent both in October and last July; 24 percent expect a rebound in the second quarter of 2014 or later, and 37 percent are unsure.
According to the survey, 92 percent of respondents expect to meet or exceed their 2013 performance, up significantly from 68 percent in October, while 8 percent expect to do worse in 2014.
The list of short-term concerns now points to government health care as the number one issue of 52 percent of survey respondents, followed closely by rising health care costs at 47 percent. The economy was third at 44 percent, down from 67 percent last October, and controlling overall operating costs was 43 percent. Long-term concerns were led by government expansion at 58 percent; the federal deficit tied with potential tax increases at 54 percent; and the economy dropped to 40 percent from last quarter’s 63 percent, echoing its sharp decrease as a major short-term concern.
When asked about their pipelines for new business through 2014, 66 percent of survey respondents expect sales to increase, up sharply from 45 percent in October; 25 percent anticipate no change versus 36 percent last quarter; 5 percent predict decreasing sales and 4 percent are unsure, down from 8 percent in the October survey.
The survey results show that 46 percent plan to increase employee compensation, up significantly from 17 percent in October; 43 percent plan to maintain compensation at current levels, down from 71 percent last fall; 1 percent expect compensation decreases; and 10 percent are unsure.
U.S. small businesses hiring recently increased according to The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). To read more, click here.