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Tuesday, Sep 26, 2023

Survey: Valley Business Owners Pessimistic About Economy, Hiring

San Fernando Valley small business owners are sharply more pessimistic about the fate of the local economy than they were in January, according to a new poll by BizFed, the Los Angeles County Business Federation. Less than a third — 31 percent — thought the economy will improve in the next six months, a significant drop from the nearly two-thirds who felt that way at the beginning of the year. The survey also found that just 79 percent plan to either not hire or to lay off workers in the next six months. Only 1 in five, or 21 percent — plan to hire more workers in the next few months. The number is drop from the 33 percent who planned to increase their workforce back in January. With dozens of Valley towns represented in the survey, the results are very much reflective of what’s happening, not just in the broader county, but right here in the Valley, said Ron Wood, president of the Valley Economic Alliance. “The graph is headed in the wrong direction and that’s disturbing and alarming,” Wood said. “We knew things were not on the upswing, but we thought the trend was fundamentally stable. We were surprised by the level of pessimism.” The Business Federation is alliance of business associations from throughout the county, including dozens from the Valley. Members include trade groups, chambers of commerce, business improvement districts, ethnic business groups and many independent companies. Collectively, the 92 associations represent 150,000 businesses and 2 million employees across Los Angeles County. “This is an alarming and sobering call from LA County’s job creators that the struggle to stay afloat is getting sharply more difficult,” Mark Wilbur, BizFed Chair said in a statement. “Small business owners have seen virtually no improvements this year — and the outlook for the future is for more of the same. It raises serious questions about how much longer many businesses can hold on.” Almost 70 percent of respondents to the Biz Fed survey forecast zero growth in hiring this year, up sharply from 41% in January. Another 10 percent said they were planning workforce reductions. “Lack of market certainty, the regulatory environment, tax and fee burdens, borrowing impediments and the enormous deficits threatening government at all levels are making future economic recovery more and more distant,” David Fleming, BizFed Founding Chair said in a statement. “Many have told us at BizFed that, for them, a double-dip recession has already arrived.” Responded want their representatives in the Federation to focus on state budget reform, environmental mandates, opposition to the property split-roll tax, better transportation infrastructure, water access and water conservation.

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