Make us your home page

Florida business owners have grim economic outlook, survey finds

Most Florida businesses plan to hunker down throughout the year — cutting their capital spending, not taking out new loans and, for the vast majority, not hiring.

So concludes an annual economic outlook being released this morning by PNC and recently acquired National City.

Seventy-one percent of small and mid-sized Florida business owners plan to cut their capital spending, and just 33 percent plan to take out a new loan or line of credit over the next six months, according to the survey.

Meanwhile, only 9 percent said they plan to hire workers in the next six months, with 69 percent keeping their work force flat and 20 percent cutting jobs. Florida's unemployment rate stood at 9.4 percent in February and is expected to rise in coming months.

Companies "are refocusing on their core business and maybe holding back a little on additional capital investment," said Angel Rodriguez, National City senior vice president and business banking market sales manager for Florida.

Although small businesses have complained about a credit crunch, Rodriguez maintained his bank is still lending and building relationships. Securing a loan has "certainly become more of a challenge," he said, but some businesses are making "a conscious decision" to avoid expanding or taking on more debt until the economy improves.

The survey, which included Florida-specific data for the first time, reflects a gloomy view. About seven out of 10 businesses both nationally and statewide said they were pessimistic about the U.S. economy's prospects during the next six months.

One of the biggest drags, not surprisingly, is the ongoing housing slump. Housing prices will remain the same or fall over the next six to 12 months in the opinion of 90 percent of business owners surveyed in the state. On the upside, just over half said falling energy prices have had a positive impact on their business.

The telephone survey, conducted from Jan. 26 to March 4, has a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

State business owners forecast lean year

• Only about a fourth (23 percent) of Florida business owners expect sales to go up, while just over half (52 percent) predict a drop in profits in the near term.

• Twenty percent plan to cut jobs in the next six months compared with just 9 percent in hiring mode.

• More than half (57 percent) say the fiscal stimulus plan will have a slight to significant benefit.

• Nonetheless, about 61 percent remain pessimistic about the local economy and 72 percent are pessimistic about the national economy over the next six months.

Source: PNC Economic Outlook

Florida business owners have grim economic outlook, survey finds 04/09/09 [Last modified: Thursday, April 9, 2009 1:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Carrollwood fitness center employs scientific protocol to help clients


    In 2005, Al Roach and Virginia Phillips, husband and wife, opened 20 Minutes to Fitness in Lakewood Ranch, and last month they opened the doors to their new location in Carrollwood.

    Preston Fisher, a personal fitness coach at 20 Minutes To Fitness, stands with an iPad while general manager/owner Angela Begin conducts an equipment demonstration. The iPad is used to track each client's information and progress. I also included one shot of just the equipment. The center recently opened in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  2. Olive Tree branches out to Wesley Chapel


    WESLEY CHAPEL — When it came time to open a second location of The Olive Tree, owners John and Donna Woelfel, decided that Wesley Chapel was the perfect place.

    The Olive Tree expands its offerings of "ultra premium?€ extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) to a second location in Wesley Chapel. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  3. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  4. New York town approves Legoland proposal


    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  5. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate


    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]