Survey: NC businesses optimistic about sales, hiring

Posted April 10, 2012 9:38 a.m. EDT
Updated April 10, 2012 10:47 a.m. EDT

The first PNC Economic Outlook for North Carolina finds that many businesses plan to add employees and expect to increase sales through the remainder of this year.

However, they also have concerns about inflation.

With North Carolina’s unemployment rate still hovering around double digits, some 20 percent of firms surveyed by PNC say they plan to hire additional workers over the next six months.

Some 6 percent, however, are looking to reduce headcount.

The net 14 percent of firms looking to add workers reflects similar recent surveys from Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill, and talent management firm Manpower.

An uptick in hiring is based on optimism about the state’s economy. Some 60 percent of businesses are optimistic about growth in North Carolina compared to 46 percent who are hopeful for the national economy.

Overall, owners expect more sales and some 20 percent of them plan to seek loans or lines of credit.

One concern is inflation with 77 percent of the businesses expecting consumer prices to increase. The survey notes that rising gasoline prices is likely stoking those concerns.

The survey is the first conducted by PNC, which recently acquired RBC in Raleigh.

Nationally, PNC reported a level of optimism about the economy not seen since before the recession struck in 2008. PNC has been conducting its survey since 2003.