TALLAHASSEE — While Florida’s economic outlook for 2019 is strong, the threat of a trade war, expansion of tariffs and slowing growth in other economies has Florida’s small business owners uncertain about the economy.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce’s First Quarter Small Business Index Survey shows economic uncertainty now tops the list of issues keeping small business owners up at night. This is the first time in eight quarters that economic uncertainty has risen to the number one concern – beating out workforce quality.

While Florida’s small businesses appear cautious, the truth is Florida’s future is healthy. According to data from Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish, Florida can expect to create 150,000 jobs in 2019 and there’s a low chance of recession.

“When job creators see uncertainty in financial or international markets, they are less likely to invest,” said Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist of the Florida Chamber Foundation, speaking at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Economic Outlook & Jobs Summit. “To ensure Florida remains competitive, we must continue the momentum built since the last recession, and renew a focus on signaling to the world that Florida is open for business and ready for economic development investments.”

The Florida Chamber’s first quarterly statewide Small Business Index Survey shows small businesses are most concerned about:

1. Economic Uncertainty – 23%
2. Workforce Quality – 18%
3. Growth Management Process – 9%
4. Government Regulations – 9%
5. Access to Capital – 8%

Of Florida small businesses, 47% of respondents expect the economy to improve, down from 77% one year ago. More interesting is that 41% of businesses expect the economy to weaken over the next year – up from 20% in last quarter’s survey and 10% one year ago.

“After being the top concern for eight quarters in a row, workforce quality takes second place behind economic uncertainty, which is the top concern of Florida’s small businesses,” said Glenda Hood, Chair of the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council, and Founding Partner, triSect. “Florida’s economy is dependent on the small business community, and the Florida Chamber’s Small Business Council remains committed to advocating on their behalf.”

About the Survey:
The Florida Chamber’s Small Business Index Survey was conducted electronically November 28, 2018 through January 3, 2019. 44% of respondents employ less than five employees, while 40% employ five to 49 employees. Click here to view the full report.

This article was distributed through Treasure Coast Business, a news service for the readers and advertisers of Indian River Magazine.