STEADY BUT CAUTIOUS APPROACH
The slow pace of hiring at small and mid-sized businesses is expected to extend into 2017, according to a survey of company owners released by PNC Financial Services Group.
Twenty-two percent of the owners surveyed said they expect to hire new full-time employees, down from 24 percent in a similar survey taken during the spring. That percentage is comparable to the findings of surveys by other organizations in recent months. Two-thirds of those in the PNC survey said they'd keep staffing at current levels.
Many employees at small and mid-size companies are going to have bigger workloads. Of the owners without plans to hire, 28 percent said they prefer to get more work done with fewer employees.
Their plans to invest in equipment and property are more conservative. Twenty percent plan to spend more, down from 30 percent in the spring.
The survey findings reflect the continuing cautious approach that owners have toward expanding their companies, a legacy of the Great Recession. Many owners have said they won't hire or borrow unless their revenue growth justifies taking on added risk. Uncertainty about the November elections has added to owners' reluctance to take chances.
Their forecasts for their companies are little changed from the spring. Just over half predicted that their sales would rise in the next six months, and 47 percent said they'll be more profitable.
The PNC survey was conducted between late July and early September, and questioned more than 1,800 owners or senior managers of small and mid-sized companies.
HELP FOR WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS
Women who need some help in starting or expanding a business can get some tips at an online seminar sponsored by the Small Business Administration. It will be held Thursday, Oct. 20 at 3 p.m. Eastern time. You can learn more and register at http://tinyurl.com/j54eqh6 .
VIRTUAL TECH EXPO
Business owners can learn about trends in technology, including how to use tech to expand your companies, and how to use it safely, at a half-day online conference sponsored by SCORE, the organization that offers free counseling to small companies. The conference will include eight seminars, exhibits and networking. It will be held Thursday, Oct. 27, starting at noon Eastern time. You can learn more and register at http://tinyurl.com/gvbj662 .
Follow Joyce Rosenberg at www.twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg . Her work can be found here: http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joyce-m-rosenberg