Survey shows Hispanic business owners are cautiously optimistic about economy
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RALEIGH - Ed Rubio is confident that his composite building materials company, American Craftsmen, will grow despite the sputtering economy.
"I know that we're going to launch forward with the innovations, no matter what the economy does, because it's going to create opportunities,” he said.
He said the downturn created opportunities to succeed because they've had to adapt and innovate.
Rubio is among a group of Hispanic business owners surveyed by PNC Bank. Nearly 80 percent of them say they want to expand their business in the next two years.
"The Hispanic business owners that we surveyed are very optimistic about they see for future growth in their business," said Conrad Wood, a senior vice president with PNC in North Carolina.
Wood said the number of Hispanic businesses grew 44 percent in the last five years.
"The Southeast especially has seen explosive growth," he said.
Despite that growth, Hispanic business owners say they're not particularly optimistic about the near-term economy.
"They want to ensure that they don't grow too fast to get out ahead of where they think the economy is going," said Wood.
Seventy-one percent of those surveyed say they "definitely" or "probably" will conserve cash in the next six months, 59 percent say they will reduce capital spending and just 24 percent plan to take out a new loan.
"They are very optimistic but are being very conservative about how they see the growth of the economy," Wood said.
But Rubio believes they will grow in the long term.
“We're out there working hard, and innovating and looking for solutions to create jobs for the entire community, not just the Latino," he said.