Small Business Economic Confidence

Bank of America breaks down growth, hiring and revenue plans

Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy. In fact, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, of the roughly six million employer firms in the country, 99.7 percent of them are small businesses, which by definition, includes businesses with fewer than 500 workers. Even small businesses – those with fewer than 20 workers – make up 89.6 percent.

That’s why it’s as important as ever to keep an eye on the confidence levels, hiring/growth plans and revenue expectations for small businesses. Bank of America does a great job of surveying this group and just released its Fall 2016 Small Business Owner Report in November.

Economic Confidence

Among the findings, Bank of America found that small business owners’ economic confidence for the year ahead is flat. Just 37 percent expect their local economy to improve over the next 12 months, while just 31 percent said the same for the national economy. Those numbers are on par with the results from Spring 2016, but down about 25 percentage points year-over-year.

Top Economic Concerns

The 2016 election year no doubt left small and large business owners alike with a feeling of uncertainty. Though this survey was conducted prior to election day, at the time, small business owners said these are their top five economic concerns going into 2017:

  1. Health care costs
  2. Effectiveness of the U.S. government
  3. Strength of the U.S. dollar
  4. Consumer spending
  5. U.S. and/or global stock market

Growth, Hiring and Revenue Expectations

Growth plans for the year ahead are steady compared to Spring 2016 results, but like economic confidence, those plans are down significantly from Fall 2015.

Small Business Growth Plans Over the Next 5 Years


More than half of small business owners say they expect revenue to increase, while 36 percent expect it to stay the same. The remaining 12 percent expect revenue to decrease, which is on par with results from the first half of 2016.

In a survey conducted in November 2016 to Snagajob small business customers, 63 percent stated they were optimistic in their hiring outlook and plan on increasing their workforce.

Given that economic confidence, growth plans and revenue expectations are all flat, it’s no surprise that 64 percent plan to hold off on hiring more workers in 2017. Of Snagajob small business customers, 37 percent stated they would either “wait and see” or decrease their workforce in the coming year.

Small Business 2017 Hiring Expectations

New vs. Well-Established Small Business Perspectives

Bank of America’s report also broke down the perspectives of new small business owners (0-5 years), growing small business owners (6-10 years) and well-established small business owners (11+ years).

The results were consistent across the board – the older the companies, the less confident they are in the local/national economy over the next 12 months. The same was true for revenue expectations, growth plans and hiring plans. The younger the companies, the more optimistic and likely they are to grow their business in the new year.

How Snagajob Can Help

Whether you’re looking to increase hiring or more efficiently manage your existing workers in 2017, Snagajob can help. Click here to learn more about our suite of tools designed to help you find and hire great workers, instantly.