Few Small Businesses Plan to Lay Off Workers This Year

Small business confidence has been growing considerably in the last few years and 2014 appears to be no exception. Among the many positive feelings the majority of owners have for their chances of succeeding this year is the ability to add more workers or at least maintain their current staffing levels.

In all, half of entrepreneurs say that they’re planning to add new employees in the coming year, and nearly as many (47 percent) say that they will maintain the number of workers they currently have, according to the latest Business Confidence Survey from human resources solutions provider Insperity. The number of owners expecting to hire is up nearly 100 percent from the 26 percent who responded similarly in October. Meanwhile, most of that improvement seems to have come from the number of companies that will keep staffing roughly the same, as that figure was at 68 percent three months earlier. Moreover, many of these positive changes are coming despite the fact that there are still lingering concerns many entrepreneurs now face, including the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s small business mandate, which has now been delayed once again.

“The small business community is taking a more positive approach to 2014 business plans according to our Business Confidence Survey responses and internal data,” said Paul Sarvadi, Insperity chairman and chief executive officer. “Business owners and managers seem willing to hire more employees, increase wages and gear up for improved sales in spite of challenges like an uncertain economy and the Affordable Care Act.”

Other areas of improvement
Of course, hiring only comes when there’s other success for small business, and that’s reflected by nearly two in three owners saying that they expect sales to pick up in the coming year, the report said. Only 45 percent felt the same way in October. Further, 92 percent said they’d meet or exceed the performance they posted last year, and 38 percent of owners think that the economic recovery is fully under way. Another 24 percent of owners think that the recovery will kick into a higher gear in the second quarter of the year or later.

Owners hoping to make the most of the coming year might want to start by trimming some unnecessary expenses from their bottom lines, including those for costly small business insurance. By finding more affordable coverage for policies like liability insurance, companies may be able to save thousands per year.