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First Citizens Study Shows U.S. Small Business Owners Have Rising Confidence in the Economy

Second annual First Citizens Bank Small Business Forecast shows steady growth expected among small business owners

RALEIGH, N.C., Sept. 22, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Citizens Bank has released the results of its second annual Small Business Forecast survey, uncovering a strong entrepreneurial spirit and optimism toward economic conditions among U.S. small business owners. Overall, small business owners are feeling steady and consistent with their business and future success even when considering recent local and global events. Many believe the upcoming year will be their most successful yet.

According to those surveyed, 71 percent of respondents reported optimism about future economic conditions in the next three years, a seven percent increase from 2015. Of the states surveyed, South Carolina reported the most significant increase in optimism about the economy, with an 18 percent increase from 2015.

Thirty-six percent of baby boomer small business owners indicated that the presidential election was one of the top three factors affecting the growth of their business in the next two years.

Kate Stackhouse, manager of Sales Effectiveness at First Citizens Bank, acknowledges the perseverance of small business owners saying, “The results indicate what we’ve long suspected about small business owners in the U.S. They are resilient, driven and are able to realize their dreams despite challenges. It’s critical that we support this important group.”

Other findings included:

  • Sixty-nine percent of small business owners considered their business successful in 2015, including 20 percent who considered it very successful.  North Carolina and California had the highest percentage of respondents who indicated they had a successful or very successful 2015.
  • Social media (60 percent) is now on a par with word of mouth (60 percent) as the most popular resource to learn about small business trends. The percentage of respondents who use social media to learn about small business trends increased significantly from 2015 not only in general but also across all demographic segments.
  • Among the top five motivators to start a business, 87 percent of small business owners started their business to realize their dreams, a 13 percent increase from 2015.
  • More than three quarters of small business owners plan to grow their business in the next six to 12 months.
  • The percentage of millennial respondents who considered their business successful dropped 13 percent from the previous year, while Baby Boomer and Gen-X respondents saw a double-digit increase.
  • Sixty-seven percent of small business owners agreed the state where their business is located is a great place to start a small business, with South Carolina reporting the highest percentage (77 percent). 
  • Small business owners in Florida had the highest percentage of respondents (78 percent) who were optimistic or very optimistic about the economy in the next two to three years, closely followed by South Carolina (77 percent).

The First Citizens Bank Small Business Forecast is conducted annually to assess the motivations, sentiment and success of U.S. small business owners. For additional business insights and tools, visit

About the Study
The second annual First Citizens Bank Small Business Forecast was conducted online among 250 small businesses in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and California through SurveyMonkey and ResearchNow via an online poll in May 2016. To qualify for the survey, the owners had to employ fewer than 500 people.  Among those surveyed, 82 percent of respondents reported annual revenue less than $1 million. Generational demographics were adopted from the Pew Research Center.  For additional details about the research methods used, please visit

About First Citizens Bank
Founded in 1898 and headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., First Citizens Bank is the largest family-controlled bank in the U.S., with offices in 20 states. Drawing from over a century of experience serving the needs of business customers, First Citizens focuses on developing long-term relationships and offers a comprehensive array of products and services to help small businesses manage their finances and grow. First Citizens Bank is a major subsidiary of First Citizens BancShares Inc. (Nasdaq:FCNCA), which has over $32 billion in assets. For more information, call toll free 1.866.FCB 4BIZ (1.866.322.4249) or visit First Citizens Bank. Forever First®.


Barbara Thompson
First Citizens Bank

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