Minnesota Business Owners Upbeat – But Not Hiring

New survey gauges small business outlook.
Minnesota Business Owners Upbeat – But Not Hiring

Every day seems to bring a new survey trying to gauge the mood of business owners. San Francisco-based Thumbtack.com touts its new Thumbtack Small Business Sentiment Survey, released Thursday, as a deeper look into truly small businesses: the vast majority of U.S. small businesses which have five or fewer employees.
The survey finds that small business owners in Minnesota rank 18th in the nation for their overall optimism about the state of the economy in April, unchanged from a year ago. Thumbtack considers the mood in Minnesota “somewhat positive.”
Jon Lieber, chief economist for Thumbtack, said that the company has been compiling its data for two years before releasing its first results today. From now on, the company will start releasing its numbers on a monthly basis.
Thumbtack found that 25.2 percent of Minnesota small business owners think their company’s financial situation will be “substantially better” in three months, while 53.3 percent expected it to be “a little better.” Less than one percent of business owners responded that they thought it would be “a little worse.”
But that optimism hasn’t been translating into new jobs. Thumbtack found that 73.8 percent of respondents had not added any full-time or part-time jobs within the last three months.
Thumbtack connects customers with service professionals who are available for hire for specific jobs or projects. Through Thumbtack customers who submit information about what they’re seeking will quickly receive as many as five quotes or bids from professionals in the Thumbtack network.
The new survey is drawn from small business owners who use the Thumbtack service.
“They’re going to be more tech savvy, because they’re online,” Lieber says of the respondents.
Small business owners in Minnesota also ranked 1st in the nation on Thumbtack’s “Inflation Expectation Index.” Lieber says that’s an indication that Minnesota business owners are expecting price increases, but are also confident that they will be able to pass those prices onto consumers.
New York-based Bloomberg Business helped build the new index. Thumbtack Inc. was founded in 2009 and made big news in Silicon Valley when it landed $100 million in a financing round led by Google Capital in August 2014. 

Twin Cities Business conducted a similar survey earlier this year. The results showed that growth was slowing, but business leaders were confident about spending and hiring levels.