Florida Small Businesses Report: Business Is improving but economic uncertainties remain (Pensacola Speaks today)

Results from the latest Florida Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index Survey show that 54 percent of Florida’s small businesses expect to hire over the next six months. However, challenges remain with growing concerns about the economy and limited access to a skilled workforce.

For the second quarter in a row, Florida’s small businesses listed their top concern as economic uncertainty. Second on the list was workforce quality with 15 percent of respondents, followed closely by access to capital with 13 percent of respondents indicating it was their top issue. Approximately 63 percent of respondents expected sales to increase, down from 79 percent in last quarter’s survey.

“There is still optimism in Florida’s small business community, but the overall outlook is less positive than it was in the last quarterly survey. Certainly there are concerns in the international economy that may affect economic uncertainty for all Florida businesses,” said Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist and Director of Research, Florida Chamber Foundation.

The Florida Chamber’s Small Business Index Survey shows:
Top Issues Facing Small Businesses:
Economic uncertainty 19 percent,
Workforce quality 15 percent,
Access to capital 13 percent,
Government regulations 10 percent,
Healthcare costs 8 percent and
Lawsuit abuse 6 percent.

Investments: 53 percent of the small businesses surveyed have plans to increase investments in plant or equipment in the next year, up from 50 percent in last quarter’s survey. Permanently eliminating the manufacturing and equipment sales tax was a top legislative priority for the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Respondents: 33 percent of respondents employ less than five full-time employees, 46 percent of respondents employ 5 to 49 employees, 5 percent employ 50 to 99 employees and 16 percent of respondents employ 100 to 500 employees.

“Small businesses are the life blood of Florida’s economy and create two out of three jobs in our state,” said Debbie Harvey, Chair, Florida Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council and President, Ron Jon Surf Shop. “The Florida Chamber will continue to champion small businesses in the effort to stimulate economic growth and create new jobs.”

The Florida Chamber’s Small Business Index Survey was conducted electronically March 8, 2016 through March 24, 2016. Click here to view the full report.

Today the second half of “Pensacola Speaks,” Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist and Director of Research for Florida Chamber Foundation, will discuss this report.