Credit crunch? What credit crunch? According to a new survey by PNC Financial Services Group, 87 percent of small and mid-sized business owners who need credit say availability is the same or better than three months ago.
And these business owners apparently are not skittish about unloading the money. Four in five plan to make some type of investment in their business, up from the 70 percent reported a year ago in PNC’s semi-annual survey.
Technology remains the top priority. Technology equipment, mentioned by 26 percent of business owners, is most likely to receive the largest spending increase over the next six months, according to the survey. Next came other types of business equipment (14 percent), physical plant (10 percent), and employee training (also 10 percent).
Respondents are planning to hire slightly fewer full-time employees than they were when surveyed in the spring, returning to the approximate level reported one year ago.
Energy prices remains their greatest concern, but to a lesser extent than in PNC’s past two surveys. In the new research, 29 percent said a rise in energy prices would have the greatest impact on their business over the next six months, compared to 31 percent in the spring and 50 percent last fall. The likelihood of interest rate increases was the second-greatest concern (21 percent).