While many small business owners are upbeat about their companies and the economy, they're maintaining their cautious approach to hiring, according to a survey released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife.
The MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index rose to 62.3 in the third quarter from 60.6 in the second quarter. That means nearly two-thirds of small business owners have a positive outlook.
Sixty-one percent of the owners said their companies are in good financial health, and the ratio of owners optimistic about the economy has increased to 41% from 33% in the second quarter.
But they do have frustrations. Many owners are struggling to find qualified staffers; only about 40% of the owners surveyed described the quality of their job candidates as good. And only about a quarter of owners plan to hire in the next year, down from 29% in the second quarter.
The survey was in line with others over the past year that showed increasing optimism but a still-conservative approach toward hiring.
The survey questioned 1,000 small business owners between June 20 and July 21.
Why do they buy?
The smaller a business, the more likely someone who buys it does so because they need a job. That's the finding of a survey released by Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management, the International Business Brokers Association and M&A Source.
Sixty percent of the buyers of companies with price tags under $500,000 made the purchase because they needed work, as did 52% of those who paid $500,000 to $1 million for a business. Going up the pricing scale, the number of people who bought a company to give themselves a job continues to fall — by the time you reach the $5 million to $50 million range, only 13% of buyers are looking for work.
Conversely, the bigger the price tag, the more likely the purchase was motivated by owners wanting to expand their existing companies. Sixty percent of buyers who paid between $5 million and $50 million were looking for expansion, compared with 22% of those who paid less than $500,000.
The International Business Brokers Association and M&A Source are professional organizations. The survey, which questioned nearly 300 business brokers and mergers and acquisitions advisers, was conducted during the second quarter.