Local Market Findings From the Fall 2018 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report

Thursday, December 6, 2018 9:14 am EST

Today, Bank of America issued findings for the fall 2018 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report in 10 local markets – Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. The Bank of America Small Business Owner Report is a biannual study exploring the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners throughout the U.S. and in 10 major cities.

This iteration of the report explores the evolving small business landscape, including economic outlook and concerns; growth, revenue and hiring expectations; and the impact an increasingly competitive labor market is having on small businesses.

Key insights from the fall 2018 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report include:

  • Small business owners are poised to end 2018 on a high note. Confidence in the economy, both at the national and local levels, remains strong. Revenue expectations, as well as plans to expand and apply for loans, are up since last fall.
  • Hiring plans are on the rise as well, peaking to their highest levels in three years. This surge, however, brings a new challenge to the forefront: finding and retaining talent in one of the most competitive job markets in half a century.
  • Many entrepreneurs are modifying their hiring strategies to better compete within the current job market, while also making a case for the unique benefits that come with working at a small business.
  • In correlation with positive business forecasts, concern over many economic issues has abated. While health care costs continue to top the list of small business worries, concern about this issue has dropped to its lowest level in six years. Similarly, anxiety over corporate taxes has reached a new low, decreasing significantly from this time last year.

 

However, they do see other factors that affect their small businesses differently based on their location. Please click on the links below to access the 10 local market press releases:

  • Atlanta – 64 percent expressed confidence in the national economy, the highest level of confidence among business owners surveyed in the 10 major cities nationwide.
  • Boston – 38 percent plan to hire, 11 percentage points above the national average.
  • Chicago – 18 percent intend to apply for a loan, the highest level in Chicago in more than three years.
  • Dallas/Fort Worth – 41 percent plan to hire, up from 25 percent in fall 2017 and the highest level in three years.
  • Houston – 81 percent believe their revenue will increase, 24 percentage points above the national average.
  • Los Angeles – 71 percent believe their revenue will increase, a record-high in Los Angeles, and 14 percentage points above the national average.
  • Miami – 30 percent intend to apply for a loan, double the national average.
  • New York – 34 percent plan to hire, the highest level in two years, even though their economic optimism is flat.
  • San Francisco – 40 percent expressed confidence in the national economy, the lowest level among small business owners in the 10 major cities nationwide, affecting expansion plans.
  • Washington, D.C. – 70 percent expect their revenue to increase, a three-year high.

 

Report Methodology
GfK Social and Strategic Research conducted the Bank of America Small Business Owner Report Survey for fall 2018 online between August 30 and September 13, 2018 using a pre-recruited online sample of small business owners. GfK contacted a national sample of 1,067 small business owners in the United States with annual revenue between $100,000 and $4,999,999 and employing between two and 99 employees. In addition, a total of approximately 300 small business owners were also surveyed in each of 10 target markets: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. The final results were weighted to national benchmark standards for size, revenue and region. 

Prior to 2016, previous waves of the Small Business Owner Report Survey were conducted by telephone and while best efforts were made to replicate processes, differences in sample, weighting and method suggests caution when making direct statistical comparisons of the results from pre-2016 and post-2016.