Biz Buzz
By Jim Martin, Doug Oathout Erie Times-News staff bloggers
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Posted: April 4th, 2013
PA business owners feeling cautious

Owners of small- and medium-sized businesses in Pennsylvania are feeling more cautious than optimistic as they look to the months ahead.

That’s according to the latest of installment of survey of busines owners conducted twice a year by Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group Inc.

The good news is that busines onwers are more optimistic about the U.S. economy and the global economy than they were in the fall as the United States faced the uncertainty of the so-called fiscal cliff.

In October, 43 percent of those surveyed described themselves as optimsitic or moderately optimisitc about the national economy. That number jumped to 56 in the most recent survey.
Unfortunately, that optimism doesn’t seem likely to translate into many new jobs and doesn’t even to extend to their outlook on the local economy.

Just one in five business owners — 20 percent — are optimistic about their own prospects for the next six months.
Just 14 percent of respondents expect to hire full-time employees, down from 18 percent a year ago. Meanwhile, 5 percent said they plan to reduce full-time staff. About 27 percent said they plan to do more work with fewer employees.

In what seems like good news, however, a majority of business owners plan to invest in their own enterprises. The survey found that 63 percent plan to spend on capital investments during the next six months. That’s up from 54 percent in October.

Business owners, however, don’t plan to seek new loans or lines of credit. Just 18 percent said they’ll be taking out new loans.

— Jim Martin

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