- Small businesses employ 1.2 million people in Wisconsin
- 31% of the state’s local merchants plan to add staff this year
- Optimism will have a big impact on how many jobs are actually created
Wisconsin’s 440,000 small businesses employ 1.2 million people, accounting for half of all employment in the Badger State. That’s a lot of jobs, and the number could get even bigger in 2017.
About 31% of small business owners in Wisconsin plan to add staff this year, according to a national study by Womply. That’s the 8th-highest hiring intention score nationally, and it means staff expansion at Wisconsin SMBs could create 136,000 jobs to the state economy if all goes well. (Note: We’re talking gross jobs, not net jobs. Some businesses will cut jobs, as well.)
Trouble is, our study also found that hiring intent is connected to business owner optimism, and Wisconsin is in the middle of the pack in that category. The state ranks #23 nationally with about 5 optimistic owners for every pessimistic one. All told, 65% of Wisconsin merchants feel good about business prospects this year compared to 70% nationally.
For the state to realize its full hiring potential, small business sentiment needs to tilt even further toward the optimistic side of the continuum. We found that optimistic small business owners are 3.5x more likely to add staff and give raises, and pessimistic ones are 6.5x more likely to reduce staff and employee pay. In other words, ebbs and flows in owner confidence have a huge impact on the economy and job creation.
Our full report offers a sentiment profile for Wisconsin small businesses, including their top worries and how national policy issues affect their optimism and business decisions. Read more below.