Family firms have generally been slow to reduce their employee base during the economic downturn, according to an annual survey by Family Enterprise USA (FEUSA). Even though the downturn had a harsh impact on employment in the country, FEUSA's survey results indicate that family firms' tendency to retain employees held firm.

Of the 300 executives nationwide who responded to the 2012 survey, 50% said they have either experienced flat or lower revenue as a result of the downturn, but only 34% have reduced their workforce. Many older family firms demonstrated core strength in the face of the downturn - 32% of businesses with between 60 and 100 years of operation actually increased their workforce over the last couple of years.

In a sign that the prospect of more jobs may be on the horizon, 54% of respondents said that they intend to hire more workers in the next 12 months, while only 8% said they were still looking to reduce their workforce.

Full survey report