Business survey results released

Davis & Hodgdon Associates CPAs, headquartered in Williston, partnered with the Vermont Chamber of Commerce on a Vermont Small Business Economic Outlook Survey in July. The survey queried executives at about 140 small- to medium-sized businesses over a diverse set of industries. The following results were released this week.

26 percent of businesses exclusive to Vermont believe the state’s economy is improving; 19 percent feel it is in decline; and 42 percent indicate there is no change.

For businesses with out-of-state interests, 34 percent believe the state’s economy is improving; 15 percent believe the state’s economy is in decline; and 32 percent see no change.

When asked to describe the current state of the U.S. economy, 50 percent said they feel it is improving; 18 percent believe it is declining; and 23 percent see no change at all.

There are fewer businesses that expect to hire additional staff in the next six months (38 percent) than when the same survey was conducted in January (46 percent). The survey found that 62 percent expect sales to increase, and 40 percent intend to increase capital spending.

Respondents identified the top three key issues facing their business as finding qualified employees (59 percent), health insurance costs (56 percent), and taxes (14 percent federal tax laws; 46 percent state tax law; 29 percent property tax).

“Struggles with finding qualified employees, frustration with over regulation and excessive taxes continue to hinder growth and optimism for many of Vermont small businesses,” said John Davis, managing partner of Davis & Hodgdon Associates. “With that said, it’s encouraging to note that the majority of respondents remain committed to staying in Vermont despite all of those challenges.”