This cautious optimism also extends to Nevada business owners.
The results of the 2012 Economic Trends Survey indicate that Silver State employers feel better about the overall economy as well as their own business, according to Jim Nelson, executive director of the Nevada Association of Employers.
The survey of 1,890 companies nationwide, including manufacturing, business services and health industry organizations from across the country, reflects a more positive view of 2012.
“Interestingly, the results did not vary significantly by region or state,” Nelson said. “Even here in Nevada, where the economy has been as bad as anywhere in the country, optimism prevails.”
Ninety percent of executives surveyed expect the overall economy to improve or remain the same this year.
As in 2011, respondents are more confident about their own business outlook than the overall economy.
The survey reports that 67 percent of business owners expect increases in their own sales and revenue this year.
But in the current economic climate, nothing is given, and Nevada still has a long way to go to recover.
According to the survey, 36 percent of respondents plan to hire additional staff, with most new hiring expected during the first half of 2012. These results are similar to last year.
The single biggest impediment to job creation is a continued worry that a double-dip recession might come, particularly as Europe’s financial mess could send waves of crises across the Atlantic. Moreover, a lack of consumer demand could exacerbate these concerns.
Finally, government regulations, from environmental controls to health care costs, are causing some executives to remain hesitant about new hiring.
Plans for significant new investments in people, facilities and/or equipment are split.
The survey reports that 51 percent of respondents say they will not make investments while 49 percent plan investments to improve service capacity and/or revenue in 2012.
Though 52 percent of respondents plan to trim costs in 2012, only 6 percent plan to lay off workers.
Perhaps the biggest upside reported in the survey is the fact that employer confidence grew in 2011 and is expected to continue to do so in 2012.
Nearly 70 percent of respondents said they increased worker pay last year.
“We see a similar pattern for the 2012 forecast,” Nelson said.
About 66 percent of those surveyed are planning a pay increase in 2012, up 7 percent from 2011.