By Cynthia E. Griffin
Small business is bullish on hiring in '97.
Looking to hire? You're not alone. According to a quarterly survey of more than 400 small-business owners and opinion leaders (delegates to the White House Conference on Small Business) from a cross section of companies, entrepreneurs are optimistic when it comes to hiring. The National Small Business Attitudes Survey, conducted by Cicco and Associates Inc. in Murrysville, Pennsylvania, found that 38 percent of entrepreneurs questioned planned to hire employees during 1997.
"We had not expected entrepreneurs to be as optimistic as they are regarding hiring," says John Cicco, president of the marketing research firm, which has assessed small-business owners' attitudes in 46 such surveys since 1987. "But we've found it's very close to last year's number [40 percent of those surveyed in 1996 planned to hire], and we haven't gotten the indications we normally see for a recession."
The study, which received responses from businesses in 14 industries, found that larger firms (those with 21 or more employees), older firms (at least 10 years old), and those owned by opinion leaders tended to be more optimistic about hiring. Fifty-six percent of larger businesses were planning to hire this year, compared with 33 percent of smaller businesses. Companies in the service sector were also more willing to hire, as were companies owned by men.