smb job generation outlook reportAccording to the quarterly SMB Job Generation Outlook by Lucas group, small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) plan to hire more employees over the next year, a positive sign of the U.S. economy’s continuing economic recovery. At the same time, these companies are encountering increasing difficulty in finding and hiring qualified professional candidates to fill key business roles.

“SMBs play a significant role in the U.S. economy, and their actions – particularly related to hiring or downsizing – impact the overall health and vitality of our country,” said Scott Smith, Chief Marketing Officer at Lucas Group. “By focusing on executive-level leaders across the country, our SMB Job Generation Outlook serves as an insightful tool to measure how small to mid-sized businesses are faring in the current economy and to gauge what they see ahead, for themselves and the nation.”

Well over half (57 percent) of SMB leaders said they plan to hire additional employees in the next 12 months, up from 41 percent a year ago. Over two-thirds (69 percent) of those surveyed said they feel very or somewhat optimistic about economic prospects for their company in the next quarter. Optimism levels were lower when leaders were asked about national prospects with just half reporting feeling optimistic about economic prospects for the economy.

About two-thirds (64 percent) of SMB leaders said it is difficult or extremely difficult to find qualified candidates for open professional and management positions, the most in the survey’s history. This was especially true for positions in sales, information technology and manufacturing management. SMBs also report increasing concern regarding Baby Boomer retirements, with 71 percent expecting to experience business impacts related to workforce retirements.

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in Economic News]