Virginia: #17 nationally for small business hiring intent

Highlights:

  • Over 90% of Virginia’s companies are small businesses
  • 1 in 4 local businesses in the state plan to hire this year
  • Optimism is driving hiring intent, but will confidence remain high?

According to reports from the U.S. Small Business Administration, more than 90% of Virginia’s companies are categorized as small businesses. That means even subtle shifts in hiring, expansion, and other business actions by local merchants can have major economic ripples effects in the Old Dominion State.

Good news: 1 in 4 Virginian small businesses plan to hire this year, according to new data from Womply. That may seem like a modest number, but it slots Virginia #17 nationally for small business hiring intent. And, for a state with such a dominant small business dynamic, a 25% hiring clip could have a major impact on the economy.

So, what’s driving owners’ decisions to hire, expand, or otherwise invest in their businesses in Virginia? That’s where things get a little complicated. Nationally, our study found that optimism correlates strongly to hiring intent, with optimistic small business owners 3.5x more likely to hire and give raises to employees and pessimistic ones 6.5x more likely to reduce staff and pay. In Virginia, 74% of small business owners are optimistic about prospects, ranking the state #22 nationally. All told, Virginia has nearly 6 optimistic local merchants for every pessimistic one.

But sentiment is a fickle thing, and the Donald Trump presidency is holding a lot of sway with the collective psyche of Virginia’s small business owners. In fact, his election was both the top reason for optimism among confident owners AND the top reason for pessimism among concerned ones. Our findings suggest Virginia’s small business community is looking to cues from the White House, national economy, and regulatory agencies on the state and local level to dictate their overall mood — and, by extension, their behaviors.

Our study also outlines the top worries keeping local business owners up at night, and what Virginia’s Main Street entrepreneurs think about Obamacare repeal, tax reform, and more. Read the full report below.

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