Many NJ businesses plan hiring, raises in ’16

 About two-thirds of the business owners surveyed plan to give wage increases next year of about 3 percent, says Michele Siekerka, president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

About two-thirds of the business owners surveyed plan to give wage increases next year of about 3 percent, says Michele Siekerka, president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Most of the small businesses surveyed in New Jersey anticipate a positive year ahead.

Michele Siekerka, president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, said her members believe sales and profits will continue to rise next year.

“Twenty-five percent of those surveyed said that they would increase hiring in 2016, while 10 percent said they might decrease their hiring,” she said Tuesday. “That net result of 15 percent is 4 percent higher than last year’s survey, clearly a positive trend.”

About two-thirds of the business owners surveyed plan to give wage increases next year of about 3 percent.

Meanwhile, Siekerka said, the major concern for businesses is rising health benefit costs.

“Eighty percent expect that the health care benefits will continue to rise next year,” she said. “About half say that increase will be 6 percent or more, and 62 percent say they’re negatively affected by the Affordable Care Act.”

About two-thirds of business owners say they take estate and inheritance taxes into consideration when planning for the future — and, if they were going to expand, they’d open a location in another state.

Siekerka said 66 percent of business owners surveyed do not plan to stay in the Garden State in retirement.

“What we’re seeing is it’s people in the later part of their business cycle, as they’re looking toward that retirement age. They have accumulated their wealth. They’ve accumulated their affluence in the state of New Jersey,” she said. “They’re going to spend that in someone else’s economy, and that’s going to have a trickle-down effect on our economy.”

And it’s not Florida where most of them are headed, she said. It’s neighboring Pennsylvania and New York.

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