published on February 29, 2016 - 12:21 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Union Bank today announced the results of its annual Small Business Economic Survey, which shows that among small business owners in Fresno, pessimism about the national and state economies is higher than general respondents overall.

More than seven in 10 local small business owners reported that the national economy is headed in the wrong direction, a 31-point increase over last year (and higher than the 58 percent of general survey respondents).

According to the Union Bank survey, 57 percent of Fresno County business owners also said the state and local economy is headed in the wrong direction, a 24-point increase.

While seven in 10 Fresno County business owners believe their own businesses are on the right track, this is a 29-point decline over 2015.

During the 2012 election year, the Union Bank Small Business Economic Survey results reflected similar uncertainty with the national economy, while small business owners showed strong confidence in their own companies.

Fresno County Business owners are also more negative about the business climate for small businesses in 2016: 50 percent said the business climate has worsened, 25 percent said it has improved and 25 percent said it has stayed the same, the 2016 survey showed.

Three in four Fresno small business owners reported that they are either unprepared or admittedly do not know if they are prepared enough for interest rate changes.

A majority of small business owners said they are working the same number of hours in early 2016 as they did during the same time last year. Sixty-three percent said they were working the same number of hours per week and nearly 38 percent said they were working “somewhat or a lot more,” the data showed.

“The feelings of uncertainty about the national economy reflected in the survey results are somewhat consistent with what we’re seeing among small business owners who are encouraged about the future of their businesses and cautiously expanding and increasing staffing,” said Union Bank Managing Director Todd Hollander, head of Business Banking.

“Our clients are working smarter to sustain their businesses and many continue to seek capital, but they are closely monitoring interest rates and are concerned about interest rate changes and other government implications during this election year,” Hollander added.

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