Ohio: #10 nationally for small business optimism

Cleveland's West Side Market. Ohio's local merchants are hoping 2017 is a banner year for small business.

Cleveland's West Side Market. Ohio's local merchants are hoping 2017 is a banner year for small business.

Highlights:

  • Ohioans have high hopes for business prospects in 2017
  • But almost 1 in 4 expect their business to perform the same as last year
  • Small business optimism could help the state fend off the possibility of a local recession

Ohio small business owners have high hopes for 2017. Whereas only 57% were satisfied with their business performance in 2016, 69% feel optimistic about prospects this year, according to a national poll by Womply. All told, Ohio has 7.5 optimistic merchants for every pessimistic one, which ranks the Buckeye State #10 nationally for small business optimism.

Interestingly, however, Ohio’s overall optimism ratio of 69% is a percentage point lower than the national average of 70%. How can that be? Because Ohio has a disproportionate number of small business owners (22%) who are neither optimistic nor pessimistic — they feel like their company is bound to perform about the same as last year.

So, what’s holding merchants back from going all in on optimism in this midwestern bellwether state? We asked merchants to rank their concerns, and for Ohioans it’s a mix of everyday business issues and national threats. Their top five worries:

  1. Attracting customers
  2. Health insurance
  3. Hiring/retaining employees
  4. Possibility of an economic recession
  5. Having enough time for everything

These are meaningful findings for Ohio, a state that’s trying to stave off the possibility of recession and increase economic activity. Optimism has a strong effect on economic progress, and in a state where 98% of the businesses are small and mid-sized, merchant behaviors like hiring, giving raises, and expansion have a magnified impact.

Our full report shows the connections between merchant optimism, hiring intent, and how big policy issues fit into the equation. Read more below.

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