Survey: Business Owner Sentiment Dips

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On a scale of 1-100 with 1 representing the highest level of pessimism and 100 representing the peak of optimism, business owners’ overall outlook is down six points since October (71/100), slipping to 65/100 – the same number reported in July 2018. Their confidence in the U.S. economy is down three points to 62/100 since October, but remains two points above July’s results.

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“Though optimism in a variety of areas is down from our last Business Sentiment Report, these results still reflect a positive outlook among business owners,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. “The decline seen in these latest results are primarily around hiring and the ability to raise wages.”

Business owner sentiment on several other topics also saw a slight decrease since October, including:

  • Ability to raise wages: down 10 points to 41/100
  • Ability to make capital investments: down 9 points to 53/100
  • Ability to fill open positions with qualified candidates today: down 8 points to 43/100
  • Overall regulatory environment: down 3 points to 50/100
  • Access to capital: down 1 point to 64/100

“This is the lowest level of confidence in employers’ ability to fill openings with qualified workers that we’ve seen since starting the Business Sentiment Report in July of last year,” Mucci added. “While jobs growth remains steady, business owners are still having a hard time finding candidates with the right skillsets to meet their needs in today’s tight labor market.”

Paychex also asked business owners about their ability to survive a potential future economic recession. Responses were varied with 33 percent reporting they are not at all confident they could withstand a recession, 47 percent saying they are somewhat confident, and 20 percent feeling very confident.

An infographic and read further data analysis, including sentiment by business size, geography, industry, and more from the March 2019 Paychex Business Sentiment Report, is available on Paychex WORX.

About the Paychex Business Sentiment Report
Data included in the Paychex Business Sentiment Report was taken from the results of the Paychex Business Survey, administered by Bredin, a third-party research firm. The survey was conducted online between February 15, 2019 and February 26, 2019 and polled 500 randomly selected principals of U.S. companies with 1-500 employees. Results are representative of how small business owners feel, on a scale of 1 to 100 with 1 representing the highest level of pessimism and 100 representing the highest level of optimism. The margin of error for this study was +/- 4%. This is the third installment of the Paychex Business Sentiment Report. The previous two reports were released in summer 2018 and fall 2018.

Disclaimer: The data cited in this news release represents the opinions of the survey respondents and not those of Paychex or its employees.

About Paychex
Paychex, Inc. (NASDAQ: PAYX) is a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, benefits, human resources, and insurance services. By combining its innovative software-as-a-service technology and mobility platform with dedicated, personal service, Paychex empowers small- and medium-sized business owners to focus on the growth and management of their business. Backed by more than 45 years of industry expertise, Paychex serves over 650,000 payroll clients as of May 31, 2018, across more than 100 locations in the U.S. and Europe, and pays one out of every 12 American private sector employees. Learn more about Paychex by visiting, and stay connected on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Media Contact
Tracy Volkmann

Public Relations Program Manager

Paychex, Inc.

(585) 387-6705 

SOURCE Paychex, Inc.

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