Get Started: Surveys shows owners are optimistic, cautious

By FeaturesAssociated Press

CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM CONTINUES

Small business owners are very optimistic, but that isn't motivating them to sharply increase their hiring.

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That's the finding of a survey released last week by financial services company Capital One. The survey of 500 owners taken in early February found that 62 percent consider current business conditions to be good or excellent. Just over half believe their financial position will improve over the next six months.

Twenty-nine percent plan on hiring more staffers in the next six months, up from 25 percent in a survey during the fall. That's in line with other recent surveys that showed mostly conservative hiring plans.

A report from payroll provider ADP last week showed that hiring slowed in March at its small business customers.

Of the owners who told Capital One they don't plan to hire, 71 percent said they don't need more staffers, and 21 percent said they can't afford to hire.

2018 HURRICANE FORECAST

This year's Atlantic hurricane season will be less active than last year, according to meteorologists at Colorado State University. Their forecast issued last week calls for seven hurricanes, down from 10 in 2017 but up slightly from the median number of 6.5 during the 30 years from 1981 to 2010.

The forecast also said there's a 63 percent chance of a major hurricane making landfall on the U.S. coast, up from the 52 percent average for the last century. A major hurricane is considered to be a Category 3 to Category 5 storm.

Meteorologists based their forecast in part on expectations that the climate changes known as El Nino and La Nina, which can affect tropical weather, will be more neutral this year than in the past.

The Colorado State researchers, who say their early April forecast has tended to be modestly accurate, will update it on May 31. The National Weather Service has not yet issued its forecast for the season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

WOMEN'S BUSINESS CENTERS

The Small Business Administration has added nine Women's Business Centers across the country to offer counseling, training, mentoring and other assistance to women business owners. There are now more than 100 of the centers, the SBA said.

Women's Business Centers, like the SBA-sponsored network of Small Business Development Centers, work with owners who are starting or trying to expand small companies.

The centers are run by nonprofit groups that partner with the SBA. The new locations and the groups are:

—Appleton, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corp.

—Brainerd, Minnesota, Northeast Entrepreneur Fund

—Cedar City, Utah, Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce

—Cincinnati, Economic and Community Development Institute

—Dallas/Fort Work, Texas, LiftFund

—Fargo, North Dakota, Women and Technology

—New York City, Business Outreach Center Network

—Norwich, Connecticut, Women's Business Development Council

—San Diego, Southwestern College Foundation

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Follow Joyce Rosenberg at www.twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg . Her work can be found here: https://apnews.com/search/joyce%20rosenberg