Over 2,000 small business owners were recently surveyed as a part of a quarterly questionnaire led by CNBC and SurveyMonkey. The purpose of the survey is to evaluate small business owners’ view on the economy, their level of confidence with their organizations within the economy, and how “Main Street” is performing — straight from those in the trenches. Here are a few highlights from the latest survey from the first quarter of 2018.
Feelings on the Economic Conditions
Of the small business owners surveyed, 47% of them feel that their overall business conditions are ‘good’, which is up slightly from the fourth quarter of 2017. In fact, 32% of those surveyed expect to hire more full-time employees within the next year.
Expectations from the Government
Health care is the most commonly reported request from small business owners to the government. Of all the issues small business owners face, they overwhelmingly responded that they would prefer Washington to focus on healthcare this year. In fact, 30% of small business owners believe health care should be the government’s first priority in 2018. Other issues small business owners wish government to look into are infrastructure (23% of respondents) and immigration (18% of respondents).
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Since the #MeToo movement has taken over mainstream dialogues, small business owners have reported feeling some of the impact of sexual harassment in their industry and own workplaces. However, many small business owners report that they have not yet developed training programs around sexual harassment. Since the #MeToo movement began, 5% of small business owners say they fired or suspended an employee due to misconduct. While 7% required employees to get training, 9% have looked at their policies, and 11% have communicated to their staff about sexual harassment policies, 61% of small business owners have not done anything in relation to sexual harassment.
Stay tuned for the small business survey results from the second quarter of 2018. Looking forward, it will be interesting to compare these results based on any upcoming legislative action or changes in the economy. “We are seeing a great deal of optimism,” says Michael Pennartz, Co-Founder and Vice President of Imperial Advance, “small business owners are showing a considerable amount of confidence in their personal and business finances and optimism about the local and national economy. This is contributing to more small business loan applications to fuel business growth.”