Survey: Regulations Contribute to Small Business Pessimism
Subscribe today for Free Enterprise Updates
- Latest business trends and best practices
- News about legislation and regulation impacting business
- Business how-to articles from industry experts
- Commentary and interviews with newsmakers in business and politics
Businesses of all sizes are worried about the U.S. economy and American businesses competitiveness in the global market, according to two new surveys.
Small business owners see the economy as a major risk and barrier to growth, according to The Hartford Financial Services Group’s Annual Small Business Success Study.
Only one-third (33%) of the 2,000 small business owners surveyed are optimistic that the national economy will strengthen in 2012, down from more than half (61%) reported in the company’s Spring 2012 “Pulse” Survey.
At least half of small businesses consider government rules and regulations and increased costs of doing business as barriers to their success; 83% of small business owners report that candidates' small business policies will impact their vote, with 71% reporting that tax policy in particular will have a major impact.
Small business owners have also lowered their expectations for growth. Looking to the year ahead, half of businesses (52%) plan to simply maintain their current size. Only four in 10 (41%) say they will seek to grow their business, a drop from 51% in 2011.
Not surprisingly, small business hiring has slowed. Cautious about taking on new payroll expenses, most business owners (59%) have hired no new employees over the past year, and 67% do not expect to hire in the year to come.
“The good news is that there are solutions that can help eliminate uncertainty around the tax and regulatory environment, and encourage small businesses to hire,” said Liam E. McGee, chairman, president and chief executive officer for The Hartford. McGee spoke ahead of the survey’s October 18th release at the Detroit Economic Club. “At this fragile time in the nation’s recovery, it’s imperative that we do everything possible to help our entrepreneurs succeed, and to encourage more people to become entrepreneurs.”
Across the spectrum, the Wall Street Journal reports that
“Executives from around the world are profoundly pessimistic about the ability of companies operating in the U.S. to compete in the global economy and to pay high wages to U.S. workers, a survey of more than 6,800 Harvard Business School alumni found.
Some 58% of the respondents expect the U.S. to weaken on one or both of these two dimensions of competitiveness over the next three years. Only 25% expect the country to improve on one or both but decline on neither.”
The survey is part of the Harvard Business School’s U.S. Competitiveness Project, which takes a new look at the United States’ national competitiveness and also found that we are lagging behind.
In its September/October issue, Harvard Magazine interviewed the team behind the school’s U.S. Competitiveness Project, who offer a broad range of policy solutions to help the United States regain its’ competitiveness footing.
Many of the suggestions are recommendations that the Chamber has been pushing for a while now: invest in better education at all levels, particularly in leading more young people toward the STEM fields, reform the regulatory environment, simplify the tax code, and support advanced research.