A pessimistic outlook on the future isn't dampening small business owners' plans to add employees, new research shows.
In the just-released study from researchers at Pepperdine University, confidence among small business owners dropped 34 percent from the spring, with just 29 percent expecting an improvement in business conditions over the year.
Yet nearly half of the surveyed businesses said they plan to hire more employees in the next six months.
Among those looking to beef up their ranks, 48 percent said sales and marketing skills are in the greatest demand, followed by skilled labor and employees with service and customer service skills. Businesses not immediately hiring workers gave a variety of reasons, including economic uncertainty, government regulations and taxes and problems accessing capital.
The study found that small businesses continue to struggle to raise capital. Over the last year, 35 percent of those surveyed applied for a bank loan , and only half were approved. While fewer than 20 percent went to family and friends for extra money, nearly 80 percent of them were successful when they did so.
"Even with profound uncertainty, small businesses are looking to hire," John Paglia, lead researcher of the Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project and associate professor of finance at Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management, said in a prepared release. "Policymakers should seize businesses' desire to expand by increasing availability to all sources of capital, especially bank loans, and providing further tax incentives for small businesses — both of which will improve our overall economy."
The first-time State of Small Business Report from the Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project was based on surveys of more than 10,500 privately held businesses.