Economic Rollercoaster Gives Small Businesses and Workers Reason to Worry
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Gallup released two polls recently that explored, first, what concerns small businesses, and; second, what worries workers. Given the rollercoaster ride of the last few years, it’s no surprise that both businesses and workers want to look out for their respective bottom lines.
A survey of 600 small business owners revealed that 63% of respondents were too concerned about the overall state of the economy to make any investments in their businesses in the next 12 months, closely followed by 56% saying that uncertainty about the future of their businesses was keeping them from spending.
When asked what would encourage investment, the small business owners overwhelmingly agreed (80%) that better sales and revenue would help, but also that more certainty (73%), lower federal taxes (70%), and fewer regulations (62%) would encourage capital spending.
Dennis Jacobe, chief economist for Gallup, commented on the implications of the survey:
The run-up to the presidential election may increase economic uncertainty, rather than reducing it. The pending election has also brought things nearly to a halt in Washington, suggesting the federal government is not likely to make much effort in the near term to help small businesses by lowering federal taxes, reducing federal regulations, and/or providing special government tax credits. Thus, small business may be in a holding pattern of sorts until the outcome of the Nov. 6 election is known.
But worry isn’t limited to business owners. A second Gallup poll out today makes it clear that workers have their fair share of concerns about the future.
The greatest concern of surveyed workers is a potential loss in benefits. Forty percent of respondents stated that was what worried them most, followed by a reduction in wages (28%) or layoff (28%). While the respondents were not as optimistic as they were when the same survey was done before the recession, they were slightly more positive than 2011 respondents (although Gallup notes the increase is not statistically significant).
Gallup’s Jeffrey M. Jones concludes that because less than half of respondents are worried, “most American workers feel secure about their employment situation, even during one of the slower economic times in U.S. history -- perhaps helping to maintain consumer spending enough to prevent a second recession.”