Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Small Businesses Say Conditions Better

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Small Businesses Say Conditions Better

Article excerpt

Conditions for small businesses in New Jersey have improved in the past year, but businesses are a bit skeptical about conditions moving forward, a monthly survey released Tuesday found.

The Small Business Sentiment Survey, conducted by San Francisco- based consumer service Thumbtack and designed with Bloomberg, found that small businesses in the Garden State felt "somewhat positive" in July, placing it 14th among states.

In New Jersey, the biggest concern last month for small businesses was their ability to gain new customers. Still, 45.3 percent of businesses surveyed said they expect their company's profitability in the next three months to increase between 1 percent and 10 percent. About 31.4 percent expect profits to stay the same, and 2.9 percent expect a decline.

Businesses saw a 17 percent improvement in hiring in the state compared with July 2014, according to the survey. A majority of businesses (25 percent), however, said it was "somewhat difficult" to fill full-time and part-time positions in the past three months, while 23.7 percent said it was "very easy."

According to Al Titone, district director of U.S. Small Business Administration's New Jersey office, hiring "seems to vary by sections in the state and types of businesses," adding that less populous parts of the state might have a harder time finding talent than more populous areas.

Seventy-five percent of businesses surveyed said they expect their number of employees to stay the same in the next three months, while 21.6 percent said they expect that number to increase and 3.4 percent said they expect a decrease.

The monthly survey of independent local service businesses across the country included 237 responses from businesses in New Jersey. Half of the businesses questioned were sole proprietors, and about 90 percent had fewer than 5 employees.

According to the survey, businesses in every state reported feeling "somewhat positive" about the economies in their areas. …

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