Survey: Florida Business Owners Are Feeling Good, but Don't Plan to Hire or Hand Out Raises

If you work for a small or mid-sized business in Florida, well, you're boss probably has a good outlook on business right now. Just be thankful that you have a job, because according to a new PNC survey, those business owners aren't particularly looking to hire anyone new in the next year. 

PNC released their Spring 2015 Economic Outlook today that shows the results of a bi-annual survey of small and mid-sized business owners. Eighty-three percent of those owners say that they're "optimistic" about their business's economic outlook in the next six months, with 38 percent saying they're "very optimistic." That number is up from 57 percent in PNC's Fall Survey. 

Although, the number of business owners with a pessimistic view has grown somewhat since Fall, with 17 percent now feeling pessimistic compared to 12 percent then. Still, 49 percent of business owners expect their profits to increase in the next six months, compared to 45 percent in Fall. The number who expect their profits to decrease, 12 percent, is the same as it was in Fall. 

The key takeaway though is that more and more owners think that their business's future is so bright that they have to wear sunglasses thanks to factors like lower energy costs and rising home prices, but that doesn't mean they're looking to create new jobs. Only 10 percent say they plan to create a new full-time position, which is actually slightly down from Fall. 85 percent say they'll keep staffing the same, and 56 percent say they haven't increased staffing over the past year. 

Also, fewer are expected to give their existing employees raises compared to six months ago. Only 23 percent say they expect to increase employee pay, compared to 31 percent in Fall. 

So basically, there's no trickle-down economics at play here. Sorry, Ronny. Florida business owners think they're sitting pretty at the moment, but the unemployed and their existing employees won't benefit much. 

That's not much of a surprise, a separate economic analysis of just Southeast Florida noted, "Despite the healthy pace of job growth, average hourly wages in Southeast Florida are below the national average and are growing more slowly as well." They noted that most job growth was in the sectors "low-wage retail, leisure, and hospitality industries," which are more likely to be controlled by big businesses. 
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Kyle Munzenrieder