Many New Jersey businesses are optimistic that 2013 will be better than last year, according to the New Jersey Business & Industry Association’s (NJBIA) 2013 Business Outlook Survey. In fact, nearly 20 percent of businesses surveyed expected to hire new workers this year.
Of course, such reported optimism is only relative as most still agree that we are not out of the woods yet. Business confidence has reached its highest level in five years, but it has still not rebounded to pre-recession levels.
The NJBIA conducted the survey in the fall of 2012 among 1,470 companies, most of which were small businesses. Below are some of the most noteworthy findings:
- Sales activity improved for a third consecutive year, moving into positive territory for the first time in five years. Of those surveyed, 49 percent anticipate higher sales revenues to continue in 2013.
- The proportion of companies reporting higher profits also improved in 2012, but remained negative overall. The net percentage of companies anticipating higher profits in 2013 is 23 percent, the highest level of the past five years and up from 9 percent the year before.
- In 2012, 17 percent of companies reported hiring additional workers. Going forward, 19 percent of businesses expect to hire additional workers in 2013.
- In total, 26 percent of respondents expect U.S. economic conditions to improve in 2013, 30 percent expect them to worsen, and the rest expect little or no change. The net outlook is -4 percent. While still in negative territory, it is a significant increase from -29 percent in the previous survey and is the second most positive outlook of the past eight years.
- The outlook for the New Jersey economy is now relatively positive for the first time in eight years, with 29 percent expecting state economic conditions to improve in 2013, 25 percent expecting them to worsen, and the rest expecting little or no change. This leaves a net positive outlook for the state economy of plus 4 percent, compared with a net outlook of -13 percent one year ago.
If you have any questions about the survey or would like to discuss how to position your company for success in 2013, please contact me, Gary Young, or the Scarinci Hollenbeck attorney with whom you work.