Washington, D.C. ~ The latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index is out and finding qualified workers remains the biggest challenge for small business owners heading into 2019.
After the mid-term elections in November, American business owners were asked about the current business climate and their outlook for the new year. Nearly one in five say their biggest concern is hiring qualified people. This has been the top Index concern for most of 2018.
“When the unemployment rate falls the inventory of quality employees out there falls with it” says Greg Stutz, Chief Operating Officer at Focus HR, Inc. “It doesn’t matter if you are a doctor or a framer, it’s hard to find quality employees right now.”
Other concerns brought to light by the new Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index: finding and attracting customers, taxes, government regulations, and maintaining cash flow.
That said, small-business owners are more optimistic about business conditions now than ever in the survey’s 15-year history.
- 80% of small-business owners rate their company’s financial situation as very or somewhat good, the highest in index history.
- A record-high 55% of business owners report increases in revenue over the past 12 months, up from 49% last quarter.
- Seventy-four percent of owners rate their company’s cash flow as very or somewhat good, up from 69% the previous quarter — another record high.
When asked to describe their level of optimism heading into 2019, 33% say they’re more optimistic than they were heading into 2018. 16% say they’re less optimistic. The majority (51%) say their outlook is about the same.
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