According to the latest U.S. Chamber of Commerce small business, a survey in which AWB members participate, while the business outlook has improved slightly, they are still not hiring. The survey is conducted quarterly by Harris Interactive.
“This survey confirms that slow gains in economic growth are being undermined by uncertainty over rising gas prices, an onslaught of pending regulations, and stalled pro-growth bills in Congress,” said Dr. Martin Regalia, the Chamber’s chief economist. “To deliver long-term confidence to small businesses, Washington should act to provide certainty and enact regulatory reform that will boost their ability to grow.”
Harris Interactive found that while small business confidence is increasing, with a 7% increase in the confidence of the economy since January, hiring has remained stagnant. The first quarter of 2012 saw a slight increase in the number of small businesses who have lost employees in the last year (30%). Nearly half of small business respondents (49%) have kept the same number of staff, and only 20% have hired in the last year.
Concerns about over-regulation are the highest we've seen in the past year, with 42% of small business citing it as a major concern and 52% citing regulations as the top these to their business, increasing 9% since last June.
What do concerns about regulations and policies mean for small business? Stented growth! 80% of small business surveyed report the taxation, regulation and legislation from Washington makes it harder for their business to hire more people. Nearly three-out-of four (73%) of small businesses surveyed cite the recent health care law as an obstacle to growing their business and hiring more employees.
The poll of 1,339 small business executives found that eight out of ten of small business owners cite higher energy prices as an immediate threat to the success of their business. Concern about gas prices has more than doubled in the last three months, increasing from 10% to 24%.
Don C. Brunell, President (DonB@awb.org)