PA Business Barometer 2014

by Provident Bank

Just-Released Survey by The Provident Bank Reveals 88% of Business Owners in Eastern PA are Optimistic About 2015

(Iselin, NJ) February 3, 2015—Nearly nine out of ten businesses in eastern Pennsylvania are optimistic about 2015, and more than one-third expect to show significant growth in the next 12 months, according to survey data released today by The Provident Bank,

Specifically, Provident Bank’s 2014 Business Barometer, which surveyed more than 150 business owners in seven counties in eastern Pennsylvania, found that 88% of business owners are either somewhat or very optimistic about the coming year, and 36% expect growth of 5% or more in the coming year. Further, 48% of companies surveyed felt their business performed “great” or “good” in the past 12 months, while an additional 37% said they “held their own.” Only 3% felt their business performed poorly last year.

“Our survey results point to a very real sentiment among local business owners that the region encompassing eastern Pennsylvania is poised for strong growth in the coming years,” said Bruce Dansbury, Senior Vice President, Director of Lending – PA, The Provident Bank. “As a large community bank with a strong capital base, vast experience with our lending team and a history of providing quick, seamless financial solutions for our commercial clients, Provident is prepared and eager to encourage and support this growth.”

Among the 2014 Business Barometer’s other findings are:

  • Among those who said business was “good” or “great” in 2014, respondents most often attributed increased sales (28%) and new customers (16%) for their success.
  • Slightly more companies plan to borrow money for business this year than in 2014 (38% vs. 33%, respectively) and supporting growth continues to be the primary reason for needing capital (39% in 2014; 42% in 2015).
  • Nearly three-fifths of business owners said their workforce numbers remained the same in 2014 (59%) and they don’t plan on making any changes this year (60%).
  • Of those companies that made workforce changes in 2014, 10% reduced staff while only 31% added workers. Of those who plan to make changes in 2015, 40% said they will hire full-time employees, 48% will add part time workers and 19% will increase their use of consultants.
  • More than half (54%) of business owners indicated that they worked more hours in 2014 than in 2013.
  • When asked what is the most important business concern their company faces, the state of the economy was the most popular response (rated 4.23 on a scale of one to five), followed by state property taxes (3.67), terrorism or natural disasters (2.76) and cyber threats (2.69).
  • Half of respondents (50%) indicated that they conduct business banking online more than half of the time and 51% percent said that they use online bill-pay frequently.
  • Almost one-quarter of respondents (23%) indicated that Millennials encompass 50% or more of their target audience.
  • About nine out of ten (88%) businesses in the region indicated that their company made some kind of charitable contribution in 2014 and 75% said they plan to give the same or more this year.

“Perhaps among the most encouraging data to come from this survey is that so many companies throughout the region are actively giving back to their communities in the form of charitable giving and volunteerism,” noted Dansbury. “As local nonprofits continue to feel the strain that the recent recession has placed on their balance sheets, we are pleased to join these local efforts and give whatever we can to support essential programs and services.”

About the Survey

Provident Bank’s 2014 Business Barometer is an annual survey of local business owners and senior management that assesses their views about the state of their businesses and the overall business economy. More than 150 respondents in seven counties in eastern Pennsylvania completed the survey in December 2014 (154 total). Counties represented were: Bucks, Lehigh, Northampton, Montgomery, Carbon, Monroe and Berks.

Of the companies surveyed in the region, 3% were publicly traded, 40% were privately held and 57% were family-owned and operated. Their longevity ranges from one to five years old to more than 50 years in business, with a slight majority of respondents having been in business for 1-10 (47%), closely followed by those in business 21-50 years (23%). A majority of respondent businesses (80%) had less than 20 full-time employees. Respondents fell across a wide range of business and industry, with the highest concentration of respondents in service (55%), manufacturing (16%) and retail/hospitality (13%) sectors.

For a copy of the survey, please contact Diana Braga at or call (732) 590-9405.

More information about The Provident Bank is available at Visit to join the conversations.

About The Provident Bank

The Provident Bank, ( a community-oriented bank offering “commitment you can count on” since 1839, is the wholly owned subsidiary of Provident Financial Services, Inc. (NYSE:PFS), which reported assets of $8.4 billion as of September 30, 2014. With over $5.7 billion in deposits, The Provident Bank provides a comprehensive array of financial products and services through its network of branches throughout northern and central New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. The Bank also provides fiduciary and wealth management services through its wholly owned subsidiary, Beacon Trust Company.

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