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Less expectation of growth, but execs still headed in right direction, survey finds

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A new survey shows businesses expect revenue and profits to continue growing in 2013, albeit at a slower pace, while employment grows cautiously.

Overall, confidence remains well ahead of the past recession, Princeton accounting firm Mercadien Group concluded in its report.

“Growth expectations for 2013 have fallen slightly from 2012, but show marked improvement over prior years,” Mercadien said in its 2013 Business Outlook Survey Report. “We anticipate the most companies in 2013 will focus more on generating significant growth than maintaining their current market position.”

Among 108 businesses polled, 63 percent of respondents project an increase in revenues for 2013. That’s down from 72 percent who predicted higher revenue one year ago. About 57 percent expect profits to increase, slightly down from last year.

Results show modest plans to beef up employment. About 61 percent of participants say staffing will stay about the same, while more than 25 percent are calling for employment increases of 3 to 10 percent.

About 8 percent are calling for staffing increases of greater than 10 percent, while more than 6 percent of respondents say they will reduce workers.

“Although employment is beginning to rebound, based on the respondents’ feedback, the modest increase in employment projections for 2013 does not portend well for the unemployed,” Mercadien Group said in the report. “It is simply another signal that a new business model of lean operations continues to take hold.

Capital spending is slowly increasing, according to the report. More than one quarter of respondents plan to increase spending, while about 63 percent predict no change. More than 11 percent predict reductions in capital spending.

“This new business model also creates companies that are building their cash reserves as they report positive earnings,” the report said. “Companies that have increased cash reserves can now focus on ways to grow their business.”

The report also shows about 79 percent of businesses expect health care rates to increase, compared with 11 percent who believe rates will stay the same. Only 1.3 percent expect a reduction, while nearly 9 percent say the question does not apply to their businesses. 

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