Lucas Group SMB Survey Reveals Mixed Feelings on Economic Growth

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SMB leaders more optimistic about their own company growth than the overall economy.

Lucas Group Executive Recruiting Firm

Lucas Group

Each quarter, our survey provides a snapshot of perceptions and hiring plans, shared directly by SMB leaders in this vital segment of the U.S. economy.

Small and mid-sized business leaders are far more optimistic about their own companies than they are about the overall U.S. economy, according to new data. Lucas Group, North America’s premier executive search firm, today released its third national survey of small and mid-sized business (SMB) presidents, CEOs and business owners. The Q3 SMB Job Generation Outlook surveyed 100 top executives from SMBs across the country.

The quarterly report gathers insights from SMB leaders on their confidence in the national economy; plans to grow their own companies; challenges their businesses face; the impact of federal policy; and current and future hiring plans.

Third quarter results revealed that 68 percent of those surveyed felt either somewhat or very optimistic about economic prospects for their own company in 2013, a drop of 9 points from the second quarter. However, only 44 percent of respondents were positive about the nation’s economic prospects in 2013, a significant 13-point drop from second quarter findings.

“Each quarter, our survey provides a snapshot of perceptions and hiring plans, shared directly by SMB leaders in this vital segment of the U.S. economy,” said Scott Smith, Chief Marketing Officer at Lucas Group. “This quarter’s survey revealed far less optimism for the national economy than for individual businesses. Almost 70 percent of respondents reported feeling discouraged about bipartisanship in the federal government, reflecting continued hesitancy and a lack of confidence.”

Seventy-five percent of respondents said they view their own company as a job generator. Fifty-eight percent feel somewhat or very optimistic about job growth prospects for their companies.

“More than 80 percent of respondents believe small and mid-sized businesses are the job generators of the U.S. economy,” said Smith. “It’s important to note that nearly half of SMB leaders plan to hire within the next 12 months.”

However, respondents continue to report a challenge in finding top talent. More than half said it was difficult or extremely difficult to find qualified talent for open positions.

Other highlights from the Q3 SMB Job Generation Outlook include:

  •     70 percent expect to see some impact or a large impact from the Affordable Care Act.
  •     Half of leaders agree that the U.S. should ease immigration requirements for skilled workers.
  •     58 percent expect some impact or a very big impact from the retirement of baby boomers.

For additional insights from SMB presidents, CEOs and business owners, see the full Q3 SMB Job Generation Outlook here. The SMB Job Generation Outlook is produced quarterly to provide a look at hiring and economic trends among the nation’s small and mid-sized businesses. The third national survey from Lucas Group was conducted in coordination with Polaris Marketing Research and Dr. Goutam Challagalla, Associate Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology College of Business.

About the Survey
Conducted quarterly, the SMB Job Generation Outlook is a national survey of SMB top business leaders. The Q3 survey was conducted by Polaris Market Research on behalf of Lucas Group from October 1 - 15, 2013. Each of the 100 respondents was a CEO, president and/or owner of their company. The survey covered a wide variety of industries with manufacturing, finance/insurance/real estate and business services having the strongest presence. Forty-six percent of the respondents reported annual revenue in the $50 to $150 million range. The majority of respondents (58 percent) are from private companies; 19 percent are family-owned; 16 percent are public; and 7 percent are owned by private equity.

About Lucas Group
Lucas Group is North America’s premier executive search firm. Since 1970, our culture and methodologies have driven superior results. We assist mid-tier to Fortune 500 clients find transcendent, executive talent; candidates fully realize their ambitions; and associates find professional success. To learn more, please visit Lucas Group at http://www.lucasgroup.com and connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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