If there is a recession brewing, no one told U.S. business owners. Nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of accountants say their business clients are planning to increase or maintain their number of employees over the next 12 months and only five percent noted that businesses plan to reduce their number of employees in that period. That’s according to data from a new survey conducted by Sageworks, a financial information company.
In comparison to the results from a similar survey conducted in 2012 and 2014, the greatest percentage of respondents this year (33.9 percent) noted that businesses are increasing or significantly increasing their headcount, and the lowest percentage of respondents (5.2 percent) noted that their clients are reducing their headcount. In contrast, 13 percent and 13.5 percent of respondents in 2012 and 2014, respectively, saw businesses increasing their number of employees and 16 percent and 13 percent, respectively, reported businesses planned to reduce their headcount.
This year’s survey also asked accountants whether their business clients have expressed concern related to a number of topics. Topping the list of business concerns are increasing regulatory requirements (39.1 percent), the upcoming presidential election (33.7 percent), obtaining outside financing (30.3 percent), changes to minimum wage requirements (27.1 percent) and changes to overtime requirements (14.3 percent). Stock market volatility presented the least concern to business owners, with only 12.3 percent expressing concern.
Sageworks Chairman Brian Hamilton noted, “There is a complete disconnect between the reality of the economy and what business owners are doing. G.D.P. has been lackluster for at least the past six months, yet businesses are optimistic about hiring, which is really increasing their overhead. As noted in our survey, as compared to 2012, business owners are off the fence and are hiring and planning to hire. This will not be good if their sales flatten off, which G.D.P. is indicating.”