ALMOST half of small businesses expect that they will either have to close down, restructure or shed jobs in the next three months.
The Small Firms Association’s (SFA) Autumn Business Sentiment Survey found that seven out of 10 small businesses rate the current business environment as "poor" or "very poor".
SFA director Patricia Callan said: "The overall survey results show that small business owner-managers are more positive for the second quarter in a row; however many remain under serious pressure."
In terms of business structure, 44% of companies indicated that they will restructure, decrease in size or close down in the next three months. The results show that two thirds or 67% of the 684 survey respondents rate the overall business environment as "poor" or "very poor", while slightly fewer, 60%, expect it to remain so in three months’ time.
The percentage of companies rating the overall business environment as either "good" or "average" rises from 24% for the last three months to 34% in three months’ time, with 29% rating the overall business environment in Ireland as "good" or "average", highlighting a more positive outlook among respondents.
The survey indicates that 16% of respondents were more confident about their own business in Ireland now, compared to three months ago, but 35% indicated they are less confident now than they were three months ago.