Colorado: #1 for entrepreneurship, #13 for small biz optimism

Highlights:

  • Colorado’s high entrepreneurship rate contributes to low unemployment
  • State ranks #13 for small business optimism and #32 for hiring intent
  • All eyes on national healthcare reform

Colorado leads the nation with a 2.3% unemployment rate. One of the reasons: Coloradans also lead the nation’s larger states in entrepreneurship, with nearly 9% of adults owning a business. These aren’t just rinky-dink garage businesses that don’t make money or add economic value. On the contrary, the Centennial State’s 572,000 small businesses employ 1 million people, so local merchants are the lifeblood for job creation and economic activity in Colorado.

So, if 1 in 11 adults in Colorado owns a small business, it’s probably a good idea to know how they feel about business prospects, right? After all, Womply’s research revealed that small business owner sentiment has a big impact on jobs, with optimists 3.5x more likely to hire and give raises and pessimists 6.5x more likely to cut staff and employee pay.

Turns out, Colorado merchants are feeling very… average. The good news is that “average” is still really good, considering how high small business optimism is nationwide. According to our national small business sentiment survey, 70% the state’s small business owners are optimistic about prospects this year, which matches the national baseline. If you throw out owners who think their business will do “about the same” as last year, Colorado ranks #13nationally with optimistic owners outnumbering pessimistic ones 7 to 1.

Given the national trend of optimism translating into strong hiring intent, it would seem that Colorado is due for a jobs jolt from confident Main Street entrepreneurs upping their staffs. Unfortunately, the national trend isn’t carrying over in Colorado, where only 20% of owners plan to add headcount (#32 nationally).

It’s possible that uncertainties around national healthcare policy have merchants in a wait-and-see pattern as it relates to hiring. Healthcare was the #3 worry reported by Colorado small businesses, the #1 policy area they want changed, and nearly 1 in 3 want to see what law will replace Obamacare before forming an opinion about the impact of healthcare reform. For better or worse, Colorado small businesses have a vested interest in the high-stakes negotiations for a new national healthcare law.

Read our full report below for additional insights about the mindset of Colorado small business owners.

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