Small businesses more cautious about hiring and spending, survey finds

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Many small businesses have become more cautious about hiring and spending in the past three months, according to a national survey released by McLean-based Capital One Financial Corp.

The Small Business Barometer found that the percentage of respondents planning to hold off on hiring jumped from 62 percent in the first quarter to 67 percent in the second quarter.

Another 60 percent said they plan to keep business development and investment spending at current levels for the next six months. Only 21 percent planned to increase spending while 16 percent said they would decrease spending.

The survey found that 32 percent of respondents said economic conditions were improving, down from 39 percent during the first quarter. Forty-three percent said conditions were stable and 23 percent said they were getting worse.

The survey of 1,905 businesses with less than $10 million in annual revenue was conducted in July by Braun Research of Princeton, N.J.

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