Most Small-Business Owners Expect Rebound Soon

Though the economy still tops their list of concerns, the majority of surveyed small-business owners said they expect an economic turnaround this year or next.

More than 58% of small-business owners expect an economic turnaround in 2010, while 14% anticipate a rebound by the end of 2009, according to the most recent Business Confidence Survey by Administaff. Fourteen percent of owners said they think the recovery will be in 2011 or later.

A press release of the results said the economy was listed by 83% of business owners as their biggest concern for 2009, followed by government health care reform (53%), controlling operating costs (44%), and rising health care costs (33%). However, for 2010 and later, concern about the overall state of the economy fell to fourth place.

In the survey conducted late last month, 60% of participants said they are maintaining current staffing levels, while 23% are adding new positions, up from the 18% in the survey conducted three months ago. Layoffs were named by 16% of respondents as a current management strategy, versus 19% in May.

The survey also revealed that 68% of participants expect to maintain employee compensation at current levels for the remainder of this year; 10% plan increases; 6% expect decreases; and 16% were unsure.

Sixty percent of surveyed owners and managers said they are either meeting or exceeding their 2009 performance plans, with the remaining 40% reporting that they are doing worse than expected.