Despite economic uncertainties brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, First Citizens Bank’s sixth annual Small Business Forecast finds that 66% of the small business owners polled by the bank remain optimistic or very optimistic about the country’s long-term economic outlook.
Before the pandemic hit the U.S., 68% of all survey respondents from South Carolina, North Carolina, California, Wisconsin and Florida said they had a positive outlook on the country’s economic future.
“This year has been challenging and unpredictable for the world, but our report shows that small business owners have not let the challenges of today impact their positive perception about our economic outlook,” Doug Sprecher, director of sales strategy at First Citizens Bank, said in a news release. “The small business community shoulders a significant amount of responsibility and has continued to showcase its resiliency year after year. Our goal is to leverage this data to better equip business owners with the insights and counsel needed to plan for and achieve greater business performance in 2021 and beyond.”
Respondents from South Carolina may even have more to be optimistic about with 84% claiming that the Palmetto State is a great place to launch a business — the highest percentage out of any states polled. California was reportedly the least startup friendly with 61% feeling optimistic about their in-state support, followed by Wisconsin (66%), North Carolina (72%) and Florida (80%), according to the release.
Small business owners in California also witnessed the steepest dip in near-term economic confidence with a 24% decrease since pre-COVID-19 results, while the optimism of South Carolina and Wisconsin small businesses stayed fairly stable at a respective 65% and 64% positive response. About 57% of survey respondents from all states had a positive outlook on the country’s near-term economic conditions, according to the release.
Business owners between the ages of 18 and 34 who manage more than 51 employees and own an enterprise under 10 years old are the most confident demographic for continued business growth. Of those planning to grow and expand their business in the next 6-12 months, 44% indicated they will do so by hiring more employees and 26% noted investments in technology, according to the release.p