(StatePoint) Small and mid-size business owners are feeling more optimistic than they have for a long time, suggests a new survey, and experts say this could mean positive things for the overall economy -- including for workersâ€™ salariesÂ and job-seekersâ€™ prospects.
According to the PNC Economic Outlook, optimism is running at historic highs in all categories that the semiannual survey of small and medium-size business owners evaluates. This is reflected by the 85 percent of respondents who selected a positive emotion to describe how they feel about the business climate during the next six months, (from the time of the survey): hope (39 percent), enthusiasm (37 percent) and joy (9 percent).
The survey also points to some good news for the American workforce: 49 percent of business leaders anticipate increasing their employee compensation in the next six months and 32 percent expect to add full-time staff. However, four out of 10 respondents say itâ€™s harder to hire qualified employees today compared to six months ago, with the biggest challenge being lack of experience or skill.
â€œSmall businesses are a key source of economic activity and employment, and ownersâ€™ perceptions can be a good indicator of whatâ€™s to come,â€ says Gus Faucher, chief economist of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. â€œOur overall findings confirm that U.S. economic expansion will likely continue throughout 2018.â€