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U.S. Bank small business survey highlights mfr. growth

U.S. Bank released its 2012 small business survey, which highlights continued expectations for growth in manufacturing.

The survey shows that businesses with more than $1 million in annual sales are rebounding from the recession. Thirty-four percent said they plan to bring on additional workers in the next year, and 58 percent expect revenue to grow in 2012. This trend is particularly strong in the manufacturing sector, according to the survey.

The survey of small business owners provides a snapshot of the attitudes, perceptions and outlook of small business owners across U.S. Bank’s 25-state national footprint, according to the bank.

The survey asked questions across six topic areas: economic conditions, business conditions, challenges, 2012 election issues, work/life balance and banking relationship.

Overall, 69 percent of respondents said the financial health of their business was “good,” “very good” or “excellent,” up from 64 percent in 2011. This year, 29 percent said they saw revenue increase over last year, which is up slightly from 26 percent in 2011. Less than half expect to see revenue improve next year, however the numbers jump among businesses with at least $1 million in annual sales. For these larger businesses, 40 percent saw an increase in sales over 2011, 58 percent expect revenue to grow next year and 34 percent say they plan to hire in the next 12 months.

This year’s survey was conducted among 3,220 small business owners with less than $10 million in annual revenues.

Respondents included about 1,000 small business owners within the communities U.S. Bank, Minneapolis, Minn., serves. An additional 2,202 small business owners were surveyed in 11 select markets: Arizona, Northern California, Southern California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin.

The demographics of the respondents to the survey cover a wide range of ages, business size and types of business. Business owners who have been in business more than 20 years are well represented, including those in consulting. The majority of businesses have fewer than 20 employees.

Economic uncertainty remains the number one concern cited among respondents, however, poor sales–the second-biggest challenge cited for the past two years–is less of a concern in 2012 with only 12 percent citing sales as a challenge. Healthcare reform is a growing concern, with 60 percent saying it will negatively impact their business, up from 57 percent in 2011 and 55 percent in 2010. States where small business owners are less concerned about healthcare reform than the national average include Washington, Oregon, California and Illinois.

The full results are available here.

Posted August 9


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