Sun Sentinel Broward Edition
Small business expects growth
Survey finds optimism; companies plan to hire
More than six of 10 small-business owners in South Florida say they haven’t fully recovered from the recession — even six years into the recovery, according to a Bank of America survey released Monday.
Still, the 300 business owners polled in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade are bullish about their prospects. Specifically:
Fifty-nine percent expressed confidence that the local economy will improve in the next year, compared with 46 percent in 2014.
Sixty-eight percent expect an increase in revenue over the next 12 months, compared with 54 percent last year.
Fifty-three percent plan to hire this year, up from 36 percent last year.
Many small-business owners are acting on their optimism by asking for loans or expanded lines of credit to buy more merchandise or improve their business, said Odalis Martinez, South Florida small business banker manager at Bank of America.
“Some things are driving this optimism,” such as the widening of the Panama Canal expected to be finished in the next year, she said.
Many South Florida owners expect to benefit from more trade once the canal is able to accommodate some of the world’s largest boats, she said.
The completion of $1 billion in infrastructure improvements at PortMiami also is expected to attract more business in South Florida, Martinez said.
Meanwhile, the improving job market is bringing more consumers back, said economist William B. Stronge, a professor emeritus at Florida Atlantic University. “Sales have been pretty good,” especially auto sales, he said.
The Bank of America Small Business Owner Report is a semiannual study of small business owners in South Florida and eight other large urban areas, including New York and Chicago. The national poll covered 1,000 business owners with two to 99 employees and annual revenue of $100,000 to nearly $5 million.
The margin of error for the South Florida poll was 5.7 percent.