Small business sentiment in Florida strong despite lingering inflationary pressures

by | Feb 5, 2024

A newly-published Goldman Sachs survey found that 75 percent of Florida’s small business owners are optimistic about 2024, with many planning to increase profits and hire more employees.

In an economic climate characterized by inflationary pressures and tightening credit markets, a survey released by Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices reveals a surprising trend: a majority of Florida’s small business owners remain optimistic about their prospects for 2024.

Survey findings indicate that 75 percent of small business owners in Florida expressed confidence in their financial future, with 62 percent anticipating an increase in profits before the year’s end. Moreover, 57 percent of business owners statewide plan to create jobs this year, while 28 percent of respondents rated the economy as good or excellent, marking a 9 percent improvement from the previous quarter.

“While Wall Street is buzzing with the stock market hitting new highs, small businesses on Main Street are trying to keep our heads above water with persistent inflationary pressures, high interest rates and a lack of access to working capital,” said Joe Wall, managing director of government affairs at Goldman Sachs. “Despite these challenges and proposed federal policy that could make matters worse, small business owners continue to demonstrate resiliency with an optimistic outlook for 2024.”

A looming threat to the optimism is the Federal Reserve’s proposed Basel III Endgame policy, the survey indicates, which aims to increase capital holding requirements for banks by restricting small businesses’ access to essential funding. The survey notes that if such measures were implemented, 86 percent of business owners foresee a negative impact on their growth, with potential outcomes ranging from halting expansion plans to workforce reductions and even business closures.

Furthermore, the difficulty of accessing affordable capital remains a pressing issue, with 79 percent of loan applicants over the past year reporting challenges in finding reasonable terms, and 28 percent resorting to loans with predatory conditions.

Last year, Florida was named the best state to start a small business, attributed to its 5.5 percent corporate tax rate and an abundance of jobs created through startup companies.

Small businesses are a significant contributor to Florida’s economy, representing 99.8 percent of all businesses in the state, according to the Florida Small Business Association. These small businesses are responsible for providing employment opportunities to a significant portion of the state’s workforce, with 41.1 percent of Florida employees working for small businesses.

Small businesses also play a role in driving Florida’s export industry, with 94.6 percent of the state’s exporters being small or medium-sized businesses. The state’s 3.6 million small business employees are an essential part of Florida’s economy, and their contributions are vital for sustaining the growth and success of the state’s business landscape.


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