North Carolina’s economy is slowing and applications for unemployment benefits are up, reports N.C. State economist Dr. Michael Walden, but that’s not the case in the Triangle’s startup community – or tech sector in general.

Even the most casual inspector of the Triangle entrepreneurial startup scene can find examples of growth and new jobs all across the Triangle. The Tech Jobs Under the Big Top event next week will draw hundreds of people where tech firms small to IBM are hiring.

Ride-sharing startup Uber is hiring, having added 8,000 drivers and is looking for more.

And now a new survey from NCSU says many startups are planning to boost hiring in the near future.

But as Big Top founder Chris Heivly told WRAL Tech Wire, employers are having trouble finding the right talent. And the NCSU survey says entrepreneurs agree. “Coming in third as a significant issue was recruiting talent (in operations, management and marketing), with 50.9%,” NCSU notes.

In the third quarterly survey of entrepreneurs from NCSU’s Poole College of Management, were bullish with more of them planning to hire and at the same time increase capital spending.

They are doing so even as optimism about sales declined somewhat from the previous report.

Interestingly, while many do concede they are worried about “growing too slowly,” an almost as large group is concerned about growing too fast. But even the “growing too slowly” percentage declined, falling to 54.7 percent from 59.4 percent.

For job seekers, the good news is that 67.9 percent of firms surveyed are planning to hire. That’s up from 61.7 percent the previous quarter.

Capital spending is expected to increase at 66.4 percent compared to 59.9 percent in the last survey.

Overall optimism did decline a bit, to 86.7 percent from 91.1 percent. But any way you analyze that number, entrepreneurs are still very excited about what they see coming over the next few months.

The Quarterly Outlook of Triangle Entrepreneurs (QuOTE) survey is conducted by the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic.

“With these last three quarters of data collection, our findings continue to confirm optimism towards growth in our entrepreneurial community. Concerns regarding both growing too slowly and growing too quickly are the main take-away here,” Lewis Sheats, senior lecturer of entrepreneurship in the NC State University Poole College of Management and director of the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic, said of the survey’s findings.

“This could account for the reported increases in anticipated capital spending and employee growth for the next six months. Overall, the QuOTE survey provides us valuable feedback to advance, promote and foster a thriving startup environment,” he said.

Some 128 entrepreneurs responded to the survey.

Here’s a profile of the respondents as provided by NCSU:

  • Average age of ventures in this sample: roughly 7.10 years (with 41.1% being younger than 3 years)
  • Average annual revenue year-to-date for respondents: $1.49 million with almost one-fifth (19.0%) of this sample reporting being pre-revenue.
  • Over half (59.0%) of this sample reported average year-to-date revenue of less than $150,000.- The Q2 2015 survey participants represent a diverse range of industries: 20.7% software/technology, 5.4% health care, 5.6% sales/service, 5.4% financial services, 5.4% food and beverage.
  • The average number of full-time employees in these ventures was roughly 14, with the majority (57.4%) of these entrepreneurial ventures having three or fewer full-time employees.

Read the full report at:

More survey respondents are wanted for future surveys. If you want to participate, email their name, business, and email address to Participation is free, and responses are confidential, NCSU says.