Small Business Owners Say America Ain't What it Used to Be

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Small Business Things will never be the same in America -- we'll never fully recover from the recession, according to the small and mid-sized business (SMB) owners who were recently surveyed by Portfolio.com. That's not good news for job seekers; small and medium business owners do the majority of the hiring in the United States.

Still, the outlook is not entirely bleak. Those same business owners remain more optimistic about their business prospects than during any other point in the last two years, so they won't stop hiring entirely.

The country is seeing a new economic reality unfold with a majority believing the U.S. economy will not regain its former economic position, according to the new findings. SMB owners see the global economic power centers shifting, with London, Dubai and Hong Kong becoming as important as Wall Street.

"Business owners recognize a new global reality after three years of an extremely harsh U.S. economy. Simply put, the people leading small and mid-sized businesses no longer believe that the United States has a good chance of coming back stronger than it was before," said J. Jennings Moss, Portfolio.com's editor. "Yet, they also believe their own businesses are on the upswing. It's an interesting dichotomy in attitudes."

While only 43 percent believe the U.S. would regain its former economic position, SMB owners are adapting and are optimistic about the growth of their businesses. A majority of respondents (57 percent) are expecting their company to grow over the next few years, with 68 percent also noting that sales growth is on the rise.

"The recession drove the closure of roughly 150,000 businesses between 2007 and 2009, and our latest findings confirm that the SMB owners believe that the tide has finally turned in their favor," said Godfrey Phillips, vice president for research at The Business Journals. "While SMB owners have a more optimistic view and stronger projections for growth than they have had in years, they are still concerned about a number of factors that can derail their success and the rebounding U.S. economy."

Some of those obstacles tend to be employee-expense related. Respondents noted that the largest increases to their expenses are health insurance, online marketing and professional services. "Costs associated with health insurance and employee benefits were ranked as the No. 1 expense and concern," added Phillips. "Interestingly, those issues ranked higher than the health of the overall U.S. economy."

It's no surprise that business owners are more concerned about what's going on in their own back yards than in the nation as a whole. Job seekers would do well to keep that in mind when applying for a new position.


Next: Companies Hiring This Week


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