New Survey Finds Small Business in a Pessimistic Mood
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A new survey of 800 manufacturers, small business owners, and decision makers paints a bleak picture on the state of the economy, with a majority of respondents (55%) saying that compared to three years ago the national economy is in a worse position for American small business owners and manufacturers to succeed.
Furthermore, there is limited evidence that these respondents see economic improvement ahead, according to the data commissioned by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).
Two-thirds of these respondents said that economic uncertainty in the market makes it hard for them to grow and hire more workers, according to the survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies. These respondents said that federal regulations and decisions by the administration or Congress have increased the level of uncertainty facing their companies.
Health insurance costs were rated as the top challenge, with 56% citing it as a significant challenge. Two-thirds of respondents who offer their employees health insurance think the new health care law will cause insurance costs to increase. More than one in five said they will consider dropping health insurance coverage for their employees as a consequence of the new health care law.
Government spending (which 54% rated as a significant challenge) and federal, state, and local taxes (which 49% rated as a significant challenge) were the other most cited challenges.
Respondents also said that the government regulatory environment is getting worse (55% say efforts by federal regulators to work with small businesses are getting worse, compared to only 13% who say they are getting better) and is a significant burden on their business.
Over two-thirds of small business owners and manufacturers (69%) say President Obama’s recent Executive Branch and regulatory policies have hurt American small businesses and manufacturers, compared to only 29% who say they have helped.
In this environment it may not be surprising, but is still concerning, that a majority of these respondents (55%) say that given what they know now and in the current economic climate for business, they would not start a business today.
The NAM/NFIB findings are in line with the U.S. Chamber’s own quarterly survey results. In the most recent survey of 1,225 small business executives, eight out of ten respondents said that they think the national economy is on the wrong track, and more than half (53%) cited economic uncertainty as their top concern. Only 14% said the national economy is on the right track.
The Chamber’s next quarterly survey will come out in early October.