Citizens small business survey results



Published:

Research highlights of Citizens Bank’s Small Business Pulse Survey include: • Most small businesses (76 percent) say that the economic climate in New Hampshire is the same as or better than in other parts of the country. • However, as participants in the national economy, New Hampshire small businesses are feeling the economic slow down that is occurring across the country. The majority (53 percent) say the economic climate for businesses in America is getting worse. • Two-thirds of small businesses believe that having no state income tax helps the state’s business climate. • More than two-thirds (71 percent) of small businesses say that escalating fuel costs have had an impact on their business operations. And nearly half (46 percent) have changed business practices to conserve energy. • Fifty-three percent of small businesses are more likely to think the economic climate for businesses in America today is getting worse. • The majority of small businesses (76 percent) are more likely to think the economic climate for businesses in New Hampshire is about the same as or better when compared with other parts of the country. • Eighty-four percent of small businesses in New Hampshire think the economic climate in New Hampshire is about the same or better than that of other New England states. • Gross revenue has increased for 46 percent of small businesses in the past year, while 22 percent had a decrease and 30 percent had no change. • A majority (62 percent) of small businesses’ gross revenue has increased in the past three years, while 16 percent had a decrease and 18 percent had no change. • A majority (59 percent) of small businesses have had no change in their workforce levels in the past year, while 22 percent increased their workforce and 16 percent decreased their workforce. • Similarly, about the same percentage (54 percent) of small businesses had no change in their workforce levels in the past three years, while 30 percent have increased their workforce and 13 percent have decreased their workforce. • Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of small businesses are planning no change in their workforce levels this year, while 18 percent plan an increase and 6 percent plan a decrease. • Exactly half (50 percent) of small businesses are planning the same level of capital investments in the next 12 months, while 34 percent are planning to increase capital investments and only 7 percent are planning a decrease. • Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of small businesses say interest rates are having little or no impact on their level of capital investments, while 32 percent say interest rates are having a great or some impact. • Small businesses are most concerned with the costs of providing health insurance and benefits (82 percent concerned, including 66 percent greatly concerned) • The cost of insurance not related to employee health insurance is also a major concern for small businesses (78 percent concerned). • Seven in ten (71 percent) small businesses say fuel cost increases have had a great impact or some impact on their business operations. And the majority (52 percent) of small businesses say current fuel costs will negatively impact their ability to increase capital expenditures. • About half (44 percent) of small businesses say current fuel costs will negatively impact their ability to expand their workforce. Other concerns shared by a majority of small businesses include: • inflation (76 percent concerned) • finding new customers (69 percent concerned) • the strength of the US dollar (64 percent concerned) • corporate income taxes (57 percent concerned) • access to skilled labor (55 percent concerned) • borrowing costs/access to capital (50 percent concerned) • financial fraud (50 percent concerned) • ability to retain/recruit employees because of the cost of housing in New Hampshire (43 percent) • Most small businesses (55 percent) are not concerned about the costs related to heightened security measures. • By a 25-point margin, New Hampshire small businesses are more likely to think the economic climate at home is better than other part of the country than to think it is worse. • By a 27-point margin, small businesses in Massachusetts are more likely to say the economic climate in the Commonwealth is worse in other parts of the county than they are to say it is better. • Two-thirds (66 percent) of businesses say having no state income tax in New Hampshire helps the state’s business climate a lot or a little. • About one-quarter (24 percent) of respondents say their state’s first in the nation presidential primary is important to their business. • Nearly half (46 percent) of small businesses surveyed have changed their business practices to conserve energy. Data for the survey were collected from 200 firms in New Hampshire using a telephone survey conducted Aug. 10-25, 2006. Small businesses were characterized as any firm with revenues of $10 million or less.

 

NHBR Poll