The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Loyola University Chicago Quinlan School of Business, has released results of the 2018 Chicagoland Small Business Outlook Survey. The survey of small businesses in the Chicago region shows growing optimism, plus plans to expand. This is important not just for small businesses themselves, but for firms of all sizes that partner with small businesses, and for workers. 46% of Illinois' private sector workforce — 2.4 million people — are employed by a small business. The full survey report, and a video summary, can be viewed here.
Key survey results include:
- In 2018, there is a sharp 8% upswing in businesses that say the Chicagoland economy is getting stronger. Such confidence had been lacking in recent years. In 2015, 42% of small businesses said the Chicagoland economy was strengthening. That figure fell to 28% in 2016 and was nearflat in 2017, at 29%.
- Confidence is especially strong locally. While confidence in the Chicagoland economy spiked 8%, it rose more modestly at the Illinois and U.S. levels; 3% each.
- 71% of small businesses in the survey expect to see their revenues increase in 2018, a 12% spike from last year.
- 62% of small businesses plan to expand their operations within Illinois in 2018, another 12% increase from last year.
- 18% of small businesses plan to expand internationally this year, a 5% rise.
- 42% of small businesses expect to add full-time employees this year, a 7% increase from last year.
- The fastest growing concern of small businesses in the survey is Talent Acquisition, which rose 10% so that 66% of small businesses now worry about accessing skilled workers to hire.
- The cost of healthcare is the second-fastest growing concern in our survey. It rose 6%, and, the survey shows, is now a worry of 88% of Chicagoland small businesses.
- Taxes, and Regulatory Requirements are also rising, both up 3% from 2017. 82% of small businesses are concerned about taxes. 69% are concerned about regulatory requirements.
“Results of the survey are very encouraging,” Chicagoland Chamber President and CEO, Jack Lavin said. “Small businesses' strong increase in confidence in the Chicagoland economy points to an environment where they'll be investing in their operations. This creates opportunity for businesses of all sizes, and for every worker.”
Wintrust is the Exclusive Corporate Sponsor of the 2018 Chicagoland Small Business Outlook Survey. 504 small businesses completed the survey.
ADDITIONAL QUICK FACTS ABOUT SMALL BUSINESS (complete Small Business data is here)
- Small businesses are defined as those that employ 500 or fewer workers
- Small businesses comprise 99% of all businesses, both nationally and in Illinois
- Illinois has 1.2 million small businesses
- 26% (311,609) of all small businesses in Illinois are minority-owned
- 90% of all companies exporting goods from Illinois are small businesses. These companies generate $15 billion per year in exports
Since 2014, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Loyola University Chicago Quinlan School of Business, has surveyed small business owners in Chicagoland and presented the findings at this annual event. Wintrust is the Exclusive Corporate Sponsor of the 2018 Chicagoland Small Business Outlook Survey.