Many private businesses are planning to maintain their current staffing levels this year, according to accountants surveyed by financial information provider Sageworks.

Sageworks polled accounting professionals who work closely with these firms. More than 50 percent of respondents said that in the next 12 months their clients expect their staffing levels to remain largely unchanged. Twenty percent of respondents said their clients plan to increase their number of employees.

[IMGCAP(1)]The survey also found that 6.5 percent of respondents believe their clients will reduce their number of employees in the coming months.

Sageworks’ most recent Private Company Report indicated that privately held companies saw their sales grow by an average annual rate of 9.7 percent in the period ended February 2013. The average private company had a 7.6 percent net profit margin for the period, compared to 4.6 percent a year earlier.

“Private companies continue to grow at an impressive rate, most notably even in the construction industry,” Sageworks chairman Brian Hamilton said in a statement. “Unprecedented is their lack of hiring over this much time, however.”

[IMGCAP(2)]While sales continue to grow and profit margins are still expanding, only 20 percent of private businesses are more likely to increase capital expenditures in the current economic situation according to the same Sageworks survey of accounting professionals. Forty-two percent of the survey respondents said that based on conversations with business clients they expect the companies to be less likely to increase capital spending at this time.

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