Small Business Owners Mixed on State of the Economy in 2013, Growth Outlook for 2014 Tempered, Citing Federal Budget and Jobs as

  Small Business Owners Mixed on State of the Economy in 2013, Growth Outlook
  for 2014 Tempered, Citing Federal Budget and Jobs as Top Concerns

Business Wire

MINNEAPOLIS -- April 22, 2013

Small business owners are divided about whether the national economy is in
recession or recovery in 2013, according to results of the 2013 U.S. Bank
Small Business Annual Survey. The survey also revealed trends in economic
sentiment, business conditions, issues of greatest concern to small business
owners and their plans for future hiring and capital expenditures.

Now in its fourth year, the survey polled 3,210 small businesses with $10
million or less in annual revenue during the first quarter of 2013 across the
25 states where U.S. Bank provides small business banking services.

Those who believed the economy is in recovery (45 percent) held a slight edge
on the number of small business owners who said they believe the economy is in
recession (43 percent). The federal budget deficit/debt is the top national
issue for small business owners in 2013, followed by unemployment, healthcare
and taxes. In 2012, small business owners said healthcare was their biggest
concern, followed by unemployment, taxes and the federal budget.

Do you believe the U.S. economy is in a ...
Recovery   Recession   Expansion   Unsure
45%        43%         1%          10%

“These results are very consistent with what we’re hearing in the field,” said
John Elmore, vice chairman of community banking and branch delivery at U.S.
Bank. “Last year, 70 percent of our respondents said they believed the economy
was in recession, so even though we asked the question a little differently
this year, it’s clear that small business owners feel a little better about
current economic conditions than they did in 2012. However, uncertainty about
the federal budget, unemployment and taxes are clearly a concern. If those
variables improve, I believe we have a small business sector that is ready to

Business conditions

Two-thirds of the survey respondents describe their business as at least
“good,” but many have tempered expectations for 2014, with lower revenue
expectations, and plans for hiring and capital expenditures mostly on par with
what owners reported in 2012.

How would you describe the financial health of your business?
                              2010   2011   2012   2013
Good, Very Good or Excellent   64%    64%    69%    67%
Fair to poor                   36%    36%    31%    33%

How has revenue for your business changed compared to this time last year?
                      2010         2011         2012        2013
Higher                 25%          26%          29%         29%
About the same         31%          38%          40%         43%
Lower                  45%          36%          31%         29%

At this same time next year, do you expect your revenues to be...
                     2010      2011      2012      2013
Higher                46%       49%       46%       41%
About the same        43%       41%       44%       47%
Lower                 11%       10%       10%       12%

Over the next 12 months, do you expect to increase or decrease the total
number of people working for you?
                        2010         2011         2012         2013
Increase                 17%          22%          20%          16%
Decrease                 9%           7%           5%           5%
Remain the same          74%          70%          75%          79%

How likely are you to make capital expenditures to expand your business in the
next year?
                   2010            2011           2012         2013
Likely              28%             30%            32%          28%
Unlikely            68%             65%            63%          67%
Unsure              4%              5%             5%           5%

Small business owner sentiment about the impact of the new health care law was
largely consistent from 2012 to 2013, however concern has increased since

In the long run, do you believe the national health care reform law will be:
                   2010            2011         2012         2013
Positive            24%             23%          21%          20%
Negative            55%             57%          60%          60%
Unsure              10%             10%          7%           8%

The uncertainty of the fiscal cliff had some impact on business owners’ plans
for 2013, but the majority (59 percent) said they did not implement a
contingency plan. Of the 14 percent who did have a contingency plan, most (74
percent) said the plan included postponing planned investments in their
business. Additionally, 82 percent of those with a contingency plan said they
implemented their plan despite developments to resolve the issue in Washington
D.C. Twenty-eight percent of business owners did not have a business plan for


Small business owners are more likely than the general population to be
innovators and early adopters of new technology. The majority of owners are
currently using mobile technology for business purposes, whether it’s checking
online banking statements, paying credit card bills, maintaining their
calendar, social networking or sending and receiving email.

When it comes to adopting new technology, how would you classify yourself?
               Innovator    Early     Early      Late       Laggard
                                 Adopter     Majority     Majority
Small           6%           24%       33%        31%        6%
General         3%           14%       34%        34%        16%
Source for general population: Rogers, E.M., Diffusion of Innovators, 4th
Edition (New York Free Press, 1995).

U.S. Bank is one of the top small business banks in the nation. U.S. Bank
ranks third in the nation in Small Business Administration (SBA) lending based
on data for the first six months of the SBA’s 2012-2013 fiscal year. Last
year, the company launched Connect ( a website just for
small business owners that provides helpful tips and resources for starting,
growing and managing a business. Survey results, as well as info graphics
highlighting differences in opinions based on age, gender, business size,
location and ethnicity are available on Connect at

U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), with $355 billion in assets as of March 31, 2013, is
the parent company of U.S. Bank, the 5th largest commercial bank in the United
States. Celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, the company operates
3,080 banking offices in 25 states and 5,056 ATMs. The bank provides a
comprehensive line of banking, brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage,
trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions.
Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at


Teri Charest, U.S. Bank Public Relations
(612) 303-0732,
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