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Economy survey considers the good and bad

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  • | 7:16 a.m. May 24, 2013
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The amount of Florida business owners who plan a capital investment in the next six months is up dramatically, according to a new survey, from 47% last fall to 68% this spring.

Yet somewhat paradoxically 58% of business owners in the same survey, the biannual American Express Open Small Business Monitor, say they will have cash flow issues over the next six months. That's up slightly, from 54%, last fall. The amount of entrepreneurs who plan to grow their business, further, also fell, from 82% in the last survey to 74% this time.

Contradictions like those abound in the survey, which, in one sense mirrors what many local executives think about the economy: Not good, but better than it was. Some other survey-conflicting nuggets include:
• More than four out of 10 respondents, 42%, say the economy has been stagnant over the past three months, while nearly one-third, 32%, says it's in recovery. Still, 25% of respondents say the recession is active.
• All the uncertainty could be why 66% of respondents, up from 65% in the fall, say the “economy stresses them out.” Though that doesn't explain the fact that an overwhelming majority of respondents, 96%, say they're happy, and 83% attribute their happiness “entirely or somewhat to being an entrepreneur.”
• More than half, 57%, of respondents are confident they can access capital to grow their business, up from 41% in fall 2012. But while capital could be more likely to flow in, health care insurance coverage is less likely to flow out. That's because 44% of small business owners who responded to the survey plan to offer health coverage to employees, down from 56% in the last survey.

American Express conducted the random survey from Feb. 22 to March 12 through telephone interviews of business owners with companies that have 100 or fewer employees.


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