Small business owners in North Carolina are more optimistic about their companies, but hiring remains stagnant. A survey released yesterday from PNC Financial says nearly 30 percent of North Carolina businesses report that they are optimistic about their prospects for the next six months. That's up from 15 percent last fall. But PNC economist Mekael Teshome says the state's business outlook reflects the slow growth nationwide.
"The improvement in the economy is real, but business owners are still cautious," he says.
"The sense is, we see things getting better, but we're not entirely positive about what's around the corner, so we're going to hang tight and try to do more with what we have."
Teshome says businesses in the Triangle and Charlotte are more likely to be optimistic about their futures. He expects more people who have dropped out of the workforce to start looking for jobs this Spring.
North Carolina's unemployment rate in February was 9.4 percent, remaining significantly higher than the national average of 7.7 percent.