Small-business owners in Florida are increasingly sour about the economy, and it even shows in their own paychecks.
Only 39 percent of small-business owners in the state are paying themselves a salary, based on an American Express OPEN's semiannual survey. That compares with 50 percent among entrepreneurs throughout the South and 44 percent nationally.
The Small Business Monitor survey, now in its 10th year, found that 73 percent of the Florida business owners queried were stressed out by the economy. Only 32 percent said they have a positive outlook for their business prospects over the next six months, down from 49 percent last fall.
Compared with a year ago, fewer plan to hire or make capital investments either.
Here's a closer look at the mood of Florida entrepreneurs:
• Fifty-five percent of business owners described their operations as "staying afloat" because of the impact of the economy.
• Seventy-six percent plan to grow their business over the next six months, down from 87 percent in fall 2010.
• Twenty-six percent plan to make capital investments, down dramatically from last fall's 46 percent.
• Thirty-five percent said they offered health care to employees, down from 46 percent last year.
• Twenty-six percent plan to hire over the next six months, down from 35 percent.
• The single biggest barrier to hiring is lack of customer demand, cited by 32 percent. Only 14 percent said they didn't need to hire to grow their business.