Small Business Outlook Survey - October 2011
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Editor's Note: This post originally appeared on U.S. Chamber Small Business Nation.
In May of 2011, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released the results of its inaugural quarterly Small Business Outlook Survey. The quarterly surveys are designed to track the small business community’s outlook on their business, the local economy, and the national economy over time. Small business owners are polled nation-wide, and respondents include U.S. Chamber members and non-members. Click here to see the Q1 and Q2 2011 survey results.
The small business outlook on the U.S. economy continues to decline.
Among executives from small businesses, during the last three months there has been little improvement, and some decline, in overall attitudes about the economy. Nine out of ten small business owners now believe the U.S. economy is on the wrong track.
Compared to findings from Q2, fewer small businesses plan to hire additional employees–only 17% of small businesses expect to add employees over the next year. After general economic uncertainty, the greatest obstacles to hiring more employees are uncertainty about what Washington will do next, lack of sales and the requirements of the new health care law.
Uncertainty continues to be the biggest challenge for small businesses.
The majority of small businesses (52%) still perceives their top issue and biggest challenge as the general economic climate; however, challenges presented by recent legislation and over-regulation continue to elicit concern from small businesses.
Despite its passage a year and a half ago, the challenges presented by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act continue to grow, with 41% of respondents citing the bill as a top concern in October (an increase from 39% in July).
What do small business leaders want Washington to do? More than three-out-of-four say they would rather have Washington stay out of the way than provide a helping hand. 86% say they would rather have more certainty from Washington than more assistance (7%) to deal with the economy.
President Obama’s Jobs Plan Falls Flat.
Small business owners see little to be excited about in the President Obama’s jobs plan. More than three-in-four small business owners have an unfavorable opinion of his plan and two-thirds have a strongly unfavorable view of the proposal.
Owners of small business rate the individual elements of the Chamber’s open letter as highly effective. Specifically, small businesses think that the individual elements—to produce more American energy, speed up the permitting process, and provide tax incentives that create jobs and the proposal that would expand trade—would all be effective ways to create jobs. 80% of respondents saw increased American energy production as effective for job creation.
In head-to-head tests, executives from small businesses strongly prefer the components of the U.S. Chamber’s plan over President Obama’s, with 85% expressing support for the Chamber’s six point plan and 15% for the American Jobs Act.