PNC: Small Businesses See More Sales, Hires by Summer

A brighter outlook on sales will prompt nearly one in three U.S. small business owners to hire new employees over the next six months, with optimism returning to pre-Great Recession levels, according to a survey by PNC Financial Services.
Nearly three in four (70 percent) owners plan to invest in their business in the next six months, according to latest update from PNC’s biannual survey, which began in 2003.
Sales and profits have rebounded from near-historic lows last fall and owners are growing optimism about the U.S. economy, and their own company’s prospects, PNC said.
The survey, which gauges the mood and sentiment of small and medium sized business owners, found that nearly six in 10 (58 percent) expect their sales to increase in the next six months, up sharply from last fall (40 percent).
Just 10 percent expect them to decrease, which is significantly lower than last fall (20 percent).  Profits are also on the rebound, as 43 percent expect an increase compared to 29 percent in the fall.
One quarter (23 percent) will probably or definitely take out a new loan or line of credit in the next six months, compared to just 15 percent last fall and the most since Spring 2009 (29 percent).
Eighteen percent say credit is easier to obtain than three months ago, which is higher than last fall (10 percent).
The PNC Economic Outlook survey was conducted Jan. 25 to Feb. 17, 2012 among 1,697 owners or senior decision-makers of small and mid-sized businesses with annual revenues of $100,000 to $250 million.
PNC Financial Services operates mainly in 16 states in retail and business banking, with assets of $271 billion.

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