A new survey shows the smallest businesses in the Garden State were continuing their slow, but steady recovery from the recession.


In a first-of-its-kind survey, thumbtack.com spoke with more than 10,000 small business owners nationwide, including almost 2,500 in New Jersey, to gauge their opinions about the future of their companies.

"New Jersey small businesses have seen one of the largest gains in their overall financial situation over the last year," said Jon Lieber, thumbtack.com's chief economist. "Their current financial situation over the past year jumped over 11 points out of 100."

Roughly three-quarters of the New Jersey small businesses said they were positive in their outlooks regarding their finances, revenues and profitability in the coming year.

"Almost 30 percent of the small businesses that we talked to in New Jersey attempted to hire a new employee in the last three months, which is terrific, and 30 percent was actually one of the highest percentages in the country of these kinds of small businesses who looked to bring on a new employee," Lieber said.

Other results in the Thumbtack Small Business Sentiment Survey included:

  • New Jersey ranked near the bottom of the Inflation Expectations Index, with expectations for price pressures going down over the last 12 months;
  • Garden State business owners have shown optimism about the future, rating their future financial situation about 20 points higher (out of 100) than their current financial situation;
  • In New Jersey and nationwide the strongest growth in sentiment was been seen in the construction and transportation industries

"This group of small business owners tends to be unbelievably optimistic about the future," Lieber said.

Despite that optimism, small business owners in New Jersey do have concerns. The top issues cited included:

  • Uncertain economic conditions (20.4 percent);
  • Poor sales (13.1 percent);
  • The cost and quality of labor (10.5 percent);
  • Competition from big business or overseas companies (9.3 percent).

Thumbtack.com and used survey responses to create an index that demonstrates Small Business Economic Sentiment in one number between 0 and 100. A score above 50 is positive and a score below 46 is negative. Starting in March, 2015, results were collected monthly and will be released the last week of each month going forward.