- State ranks low in best places to start a business list
- But merchants are highly optimistic
- Obamacare repeal could boost confidence even more
According to a new ranking by WalletHub, Alabama is one of the worst states to start a small business. Don’t tell that to local merchants in the Heart of Dixie, who are feeling pretty darn good about business these days.
Statewide, 76% of Alabama’s small business owners are optimistic about their prospects in 2017, according to a national survey conducted by Womply. What’s more, 49% of Alabama respondents said they feel “very optimistic,” a major increase over the national average of 35%. All told, Alabama boasts 6 optimistic business owners for every pessimistic one. Not bad, right?
Unfortunately, all that confidence doesn’t mean small businesses in the Yellowhammer State are ready to take some risks on growth. Only 17% of SMBs plan to hire this year, ranking Alabama #42 nationally in small business hiring intent. The good news: increasing employee pay is the top business activity planned by Alabama merchants this year. Cha-ching!
For pessimists, economic and regulatory concerns are having an outsized impact on small business sentiment. Four of the top five concerns for pessimistic merchants in Alabama deal with the state or federal economy or regulatory environment. This supports the WalletHub data that ranked Alabama dead last for business environment.
One regulatory move that might boost spirits in Alabama: Obamacare repeal. The state’s local merchants said healthcare is the policy area they most want changed, and 50% said repeal of the Affordable Care Act would have a positive impact on their business, which is double the national average.
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