Monday, July 11, 2011

Small business cites uncertainty

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is out with its April survey of small business. Here are the key findings as released by the chamber:

  • The small business climate has deteriorated. Small business owners almost universally agree—by a 73% to 17% margin—that the climate of the last two years has hindered their growth. Respondents were split in how they view the next two years, with 38% believing it will improve, 37% believing that it will worsen, and the remainder uncertain. (See questions 10 and 11.)

  • Uncertainty abounds with small businesses. They are worried about current regulations, but are even more concerned about what Washington will do next. 49% say they “really don’t know” if their business’ best days are ahead of them. (See questions 9 and 25.)

  • Small business continues to be hesitant to hire. 55% of respondents cited economic uncertainty as their greatest hiring obstacle and 35% said Washington uncertainty impacted growth, while 35% cited too little revenue as their greatest obstacle. 70% of respondents do not plan to hire new employees next year, and 9% will continue layoffs. (See questions 16 and 20.)

  • Two of the top issues of concern are America’s debt and the health care law. 80% said America’s debt and deficit have a negative impact on their business, and 72% of respondents say the health care law has made hiring more difficult. (See questions 27 and 29.)

  • Small businesses want Washington to get out of the way. In a commanding majority, 79% of small business owners say they want more certainty, and only 14% want more government assistance. (See question 14.)

  • The full survey is available here in pdf format.

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