Some small businesses optimistic in new year

But not all: Optimism Index survey finds confidence low



FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — For Rodney Moore, owner of Alpharetta-based Express Employment Professionals, an increase in hiring the fourth quarter of 2012 has not slowed down in the new year.

It was a great fourth quarter for his business, which helps screen and hire top candidates for positions in the manufacturing and sales industries.

“In January, we are usually slow, but we are pretty busy,” Moore said. “Clients are calling us and giving us orders for new people to be hired.”

Moore said this is a good sign that companies are optimistic about their future.

“Most companies are very optimistic about their future and their businesses growing and their need to increase the number of employees to support that growth,” Moore said. “If the economy is doing well, our business is doing well.”

Jason Mock, director of small business services for the Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce, has had a lot of people inquiring about starting a new business.

“We see a lot of that in the beginning of the year,” Mock said.

While he’s also heard some people weary because of the economy, he said a lot of business owners are saying, “We got to move forward and continue going in the path we want as a business owner.”

“They know that what they control is what’s in front of them,” Mock said.

While some businesses have fared well during the holiday season, other small business owners’ confidence did not rebound in December, according to a National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Optimism Index survey of about 650 members.

Kyle Jackson, director of NFIB in Georgia, said what’s happening in the state mirrors what’s happening nationally.

“Congress played chicken right up to the end of the year, so small business owners didn’t know whether they’d have to pay higher taxes or whether we’d all plunge over the fiscal cliff,” Jackson said.

NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said the 11th-hour “deal” has brought marginal certainty about tax rates and extenders and will provide some relief to owners.

“It certainly doesn’t guarantee a more positive forecast for the economy,” Dunkelberg said.

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