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Wary Small Business Owners To Delay Hiring



                  Wary Small Business Owners To Delay Hiring

- Three out of four to hold off hiring during next six months

- Cautious optimism revealed in aftermath of U.S. government actions

- PNC forecasts moderate growth will persist in 2013

PR Newswire

PITTSBURGH, April 4, 2013

PITTSBURGH, April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. small and mid-sized business
owners plan to delay hiring new employees or seek new loans amid cautious
optimism about the economy, according to the latest findings of the PNC
Economic Outlook survey.

The spring findings of PNC's biannual survey, which began in 2003, reveals
about one in four are highly optimistic about their own company's prospects
during the next six months, up from 23 percent last fall. Nearly half expect
sales to increase during the next six months – on par with the previous 46
percent.

Their outlook has brightened about the U.S. economy during the next six months
as 58 percent are optimistic and 41 percent are pessimistic in a turnaround
from fall's 42 percent and 57 percent, respectively. Regarding their local
economies, 71 percent are optimistic and 28 percent are pessimistic – improved
from 59 percent and 39 percent last fall.

"The powerful engine of the U.S. economy is not firing on all cylinders, but
there are sparks of optimism related to sales, profits and housing prices,"
said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC. "These findings support our
baseline forecast that the moderate U.S. economic and jobs expansion will
persist in 2013."

Hoffman added that three factors are holding back the economy: Continued
uncertainty about federal spending, tax and deficit actions; hiring freezes
and ongoing layoffs, particularly at the federal level; and continued limits
on U.S. exports to Europe.

Highlights: Waiting to Hire, Seek Loans
Three out of four small and mid-sized businesses expect their staffing to
remain unchanged for the next six months. Asked for reasons, nearly one out of
three say they will choose to do more work with fewer employees. Only 41
percent think the federal government could take actions that would positively
influence their hiring plans, most notably fewer business regulations.

Other findings about the next six months include:

  o Little Demand for New Loans: Only 18 percent will probably/definitely take
    out a new loan or line of credit compared to 15 percent one year ago. More
    than half (58 percent) plan to spend on capital investments, the same in
    the fall but down from 70 percent a year ago. Technology equipment remains
    the top priority.
  o Housing Rebound to Continue: Building on the dramatic turnaround first
    seen in PNC's fall survey, 48 percent expect home prices in their local
    markets will rise over the coming year compared to 26 percent one year
    ago. This expected house price rebound is reinforced by sizable house
    price gains in 2012.
  o Consumer Spending Supports Price Hikes: One-third plan to raise their
    selling prices and only five percent intend to cut their prices, signaling
    potential pricing pressures.

An online media kit containing national and regional survey results is
available on PNC's website at www.pnc.com/pncpresskits.

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (www.pnc.com) is one of the nation's
largest diversified financial services organizations providing retail and
business banking; residential mortgage banking; specialized services for
corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate
finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management.
Follow @PNCNews on Twitter for breaking news and announcements from PNC.

Methodology
The PNC Economic Outlook survey was conducted between Jan. 23 to Feb. 15,
2013, by telephone within the United States among 1,718 owners or senior
decision-makers of small and mid-sized businesses with annual revenues of
$100,000 to $250 million. The results given in this release are based on
interviews with 509 businesses nationally, while the remaining interviews were
conducted among businesses within the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia,
Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Sampling
error for the national results is +/- 4.3 percent at the 95 percent confidence
level. The survey was conducted by Artemis Strategy Group (www.ArtemisSG.com),
a communications strategy research firm specializing in brand positioning and
policy issues. The firm, headquartered in Washington D.C., provides
communications research and consulting to a range of public and private sector
clients.

This report has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is
not intended as specific advice or recommendations. Information has been
gathered from third party sources and has not been independently verified or
accepted by The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. PNC makes no
representations or warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of the
information, assumptions, analyses or conclusions presented in the report. PNC
cannot be held responsible for any errors or misrepresentations contained in
the report or in the information gathered from third party sources. Any
reliance upon the information provided in the report is solely and exclusively
at your own risk.

CONTACT:

Patrick McMahon
(412) 762-4550
Patrick.mcmahon@pnc.com

SOURCE PNC Financial Services Group

Website: http://www.pnc.com
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