Zogby Analytics conducted an online survey of 408 business decision makers (CXOs, Owners, VPs, Directors, Administrators and Officers) between 1/10/19-1/13/19. Based on a confidence interval of 95%, the margin of error for 408 is +/- 4.9 percentage points. The survey results show businesses are gearing up to hire employees in 2019, while fewer businesses are thinking of laying off workers. Also, more businesses say The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will help their bottom line.



Zogby Analytics surveyed business leaders (CXOs, Owners, VP's, Officers, Administrators, and Directors), nationwide, from small, medium and large size businesses, and asked questions about their outlook for 2019, regarding adding and cutting positions, and whether The Tax Cuts would help or hurt their businesses in 2019. What we found was an optimistic, yet somewhat cautious outlook for business this year.

Overall, a majority (55%) of business leaders said it was "unlikely" (very and somewhat unlikely combined) that their businesses would be laying off workers in 2019. A third said it was "very unlikely." Two in five business leaders surveyed said it was "likely" (very and somewhat likely combined) they would layoff workers in 2019. There were differences of opinion when it came to the size of the company and decision making authority of the surveyed respondents. A majority (52%) of business leaders (from companies with 500-1,000 employees-medium size businesses) said it was "likely" they would layoff employees this year, while 44% of medium size businesses said this scenario was "unlikely." Small businesses (<500 employees) were much more optimistic than medium size businesses; 57% said it was "unlikely" they would layoff workers, while 39% said it was "likely."

Only a quarter (28%) of business decision makers from large businesses (5000+ employees) said it was likely (very and somewhat likely combined) that they would layoff workers this year, compared with two-thirds of the same group who said it was "unlikely" they would layoff workers in 2019. Of the two-thirds of business leaders, who said layoffs were unlikely, 37% said "very unlikely." When it came to the title of respondents, officers were much more sanguine than CXOs. Three-quarters of officers said it was "unlikely" their businesses (46% very unlikely) would layoff workers this year; only 17% said it was "likely," compared with a majority (52%) of CXOs, who stated layoffs were "likely" this year, while 46% disagreed and said it was "unlikely."


More than three-quarters (very likely and somewhat likely combined) of business leaders said it's "likely" their businesses will add positions in 2019, while only 18% of business leaders surveyed said the idea of adding new positions at their respective companies would be unlikely.

Business leaders' sentiment of adding new jobs was prevalent across the board when it came to the sector, size of business, and title of survey respondents.


A plurality (47%) of business leaders think The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will "help" their business' bottom line in 2019. Nearly three and a half to one, among business leaders, said President Trump's signature law will "help" their business' bottom line rather than "hurt" it. Only 13% said the law will hurt their bottom line, while four in ten say it will be neutral for their business' bottom line.

Directors (51%) and CXOs (58%) were much more likely than officers (33%) and administrators (42%) to state the Tax Cuts will "help" their companies this year. Officers (53%) were the most likely to think the Tax Cuts will be "neutral" for their bottom line in 2019, compared to 40% of directors who said the same.

The Takeaways

  • Business leaders are optimistic about hiring in 2019, which could point to optimism about the economy, even though there are domestic issues, such as, the partial government shutdown and a stock market entering bear territory.
  • Even though most businesses said they were less likely to layoff workers in 2019, medium size businesses and CXOs were more cautious, and a majority of each group said layoffs were "likely" this year. More than half of small businesses said layoffs were "unlikely" in 2019.
  • More businesses think the Tax Cuts will help rather than "hurt" their bottom line. About two in five said the Tax Cuts will be "neutral" as far as their bottom line is concerned. Not all businesses will benefit from the Tax Cuts, but it's suffice to say the law will not hurt businesses either, which could help explain the high number of businesses, especially small businesses, that said they plan to hire in 2019.
  • Although, businesses are optimistic for this year, a continued drop in the stock market, which will send share prices plummeting in certain sectors, will hit the brakes on companies' hiring plans, not to mention continued tension with China, which could also put a damper on business hiring and expansion in 2019.