Survey: Optimism abounds among state’s small-business owners

Nevada’s small-business owners are increasingly confident about the economy, according to a survey sponsored by Nevada State Bank.

About 77 percent believe Nevada’s economy is headed in the right direction, a sharp rise from last’s year’s 61.5 percent.

Almost 69 percent believe the U.S. economy is headed in the right direction.

“In the four years we’ve been collecting data, we’ve never seen such optimism,” said Terry Shirey, president and CEO of Nevada State Bank. “From an historical perspective, the percentage of businesses that believe the national economy is headed in the right direction has jumped from 35.5 percent in 2014 and 40.5 percent in 2016 to 68.9 percent today."

Shirey said that optimism fuels employment throughout the state, with 35.8 percent of businesses reporting they plan to increase their number of employees in the next 12 months, up from 23.9 percent in 2015 and 26.8 percent last year.

Among Southern Nevada business owners, support for the proposed NFL stadium was high, with 70 percent saying the venue would have a positive impact on Southern Nevada. At the same time, however, about half said the stadium was a poor use of Clark County room tax dollars to help fund it.

While almost 67 percent didn’t believe the Las Vegas Convention Center expansion would directly impact their business, 75.1 percent said they believed it would have a positive impact on the community. A majority believed the project is a wise use of Clark County room tax dollars.

Other notable statewide findings:

• More than 70 percent expect their revenues or sales to increase in the coming year.

• More than 63 percent anticipated an increase in profitability during the next 12 months.

• More than 60 percent of those who applied for financing in the past year were fully approved.

• More than 61 percent expect the 2016 presidential election results to have a positive impact on their business.

“By most measures, small-business owners continue to be very optimistic about Nevada’s economy,” Nevada State Bank Chairman Dallas Haun and Shirey said in an introduction to the survey results. “With a ‘business-friendly’ tax code, in addition to relatively inexpensive real estate, startups, entrepreneurs and established businesses from nearby states continue to flock to Nevada as a place to do business.”

As in past years, the survey showed small business owners in Nevada continue to face challenges in recruiting quality employees. More than 70 percent of respondents believe it is “somewhat” to “very” difficult to recruit candidates from within their market, up from 66.1 percent in the prior year and 61.4 percent in the survey conducted two years ago.

Las Vegas-based research firm Applied Analysis conducted the survey of more than 400 small-business decision-makers, including owners, operators and management executives in December and January.