Small Business Forecast Finds Business Owners Pessimistic About Economic Outlook

Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Manag
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LOS ANGELES, March 26, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Business owners are less optimistic about growth opportunities heading in to 2013 than they were in previous years shows the 2013 Small Business Economic Forecast produced by Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management, in partnership with Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. More than a third of businesses (36.2 percent) fret the probability of a recession this year compared to 28.4 percent in 2011.

When asked at the beginning of 2012 if they were more or less confident about business growth prospects, 54 percent said they were more or somewhat more confident. Business owners confidence level dropped at the beginning of 2013 as only 45 percent said they were more or somewhat more confident about their growth prospects. The data is based on 2,713 survey responses collected from January 14 – 28, 2013.

"Small business owners, who are optimistic by nature, are still taking a highly cautious view of the economy and their personal business prospects," said associate professor of finance Dr. John Paglia, founding director of the Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project. "The 'foxhole mentality' among small business owners to dig in and stay low has the potential to slow the still fragile recovery."

According to the 2013 Economic Forecast, 41 percent of respondents said government regulations -- namely taxes and healthcare -- were the most influential impediment to GDP growth next year compared to 32 percent in 2012. Only nine percent of respondents cited the domestic economic and/or political environment as the main impediment compared to 21 percent in 2012.

"The sentiment among business owners is that government regulations are putting a stranglehold on businesses," said Jeff Stibel, Chairman and CEO of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. "We are nearing an economic recovery and the last thing businesses need is government headwind."

Four in ten (42 percent) of respondents said the Affordable Care Act will increase health care costs of their business. One-third (33 percent) of respondents said they plan to make changes to their business healthcare plan that will negatively impact employees; nine percent plan to drop employee health insurance coverage and pay the employer mandate penalty tax; three percent plan to switch to a defined contribution healthcare plan; five percent plan to keep their current employee healthcare coverage, but reduce other employee benefits; and 16 percent plan to keep their insurance but reduce coverage (benefits).

The percentage of employers who gave their employees a raise was higher in 2012 (41 percent) than those who plan to do so in 2013 (39 percent). Furthermore, 83 percent of employers do not plan to give their employees a raise to account for the two percent increase in payroll taxes that took effect January 1, 2013. Part of that may be due to the fact that 61 percent of respondents said that they personally did not make more money than the year before.

However, there are some slight signals of optimism. Business owners see a bright spot in the housing market as the consensus is housing prices will rise three percent this year compared to an estimated decline of 1.8 percent in the 2011 Forecast. In addition, business owners who responded to the survey also predicted that unemployment would reach eight percent by the end of the year compared with responses in early 2012 that predicted an 8.7 percent unemployment rate by the end of that year.

The 2013 Small Business Economic Forecast is available for download at no cost at http://bschool.pepperdine.edu/accesscapital.

About the 2013 Small Business Economic Forecast





Results from the 2013 Small Business Economic Forecast survey were generated from responses by 2,713 business owners collected from January 14 – 28, 2013. The survey sample was drawn from a database of businesses maintained by Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp., the leading provider of credit building and credibility solutions for businesses. Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project's Dr. John Paglia and Dr. Craig Everett at the Graziadio School of Business and Management collected insights from small and mid-sized business owners about their perception of the economy, government policies and business trends.

About Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Management

Founded on the core values of integrity, stewardship, courage, and compassion, Pepperdine University's Graziadio (GRAT-ZEE-ah-DEE-oh) School of Business and Management has been developing values-centered leaders and advancing responsible business practice since 1969. Student-focused, experience-driven, and globally-oriented, the Graziadio School offers fully accredited MBA, Masters of Science, and bachelor's completion business programs. More information found at http://bschool.pepperdine.edu/newsroom/.

Contact:
Douglass Gore
Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Management
Phone: (310) 568-5580
graziadioPR@pepperdine.edu

About Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp.

Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. is the leading provider of business credit building and credibility solutions for businesses. The company helps businesses establish their credit with a D &B D-U-N-S® Number and provides the only business credit solution available to businesses looking to build, monitor, and impact their business credit and credibility. The company's headquarters are in Los Angeles, CA with offices throughout the United States. For more information on the company, please visit www.DandB.com. Twitter: @DandB

Contact:
Aaron Kellogg
Greenough Communications for Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp.
(617) 275-6526
akellogg@greenoughcom.com
Liz Gengl
Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp.
(310) 919-2266
lgengl@dandb.com

CONTACT: Douglass Gore Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Management Phone: (310) 568-5580 graziadioPR@pepperdine.eduSource:Pepperdine University