U.S. Chamber Survey, Small Businesses Hesitant to Hire, Say the Economy Is Off Track

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Health Care Requirements, Economic Uncertainty Among Top Threats to Small Businesses

Only one in five small businesses expect to add employees in 2013 and 82% think the national economy is on the wrong track, according to the U.S. Chamber’s fifth quarterly small business survey released today.

“Washington’s policies are not meeting our country’s fiscal challenges and are prolonging uncertainty among small businesses,” said Dr. Martin Regalia, the Chamber’s chief economist. “Washington can restore confidence for small businesses in this country by addressing the fiscal cliff, removing regulatory barriers, increasing energy production, and starting over on bipartisan health care legislation.”

The poll of 1,225 small business owners, conducted by Harris Interactive, found that nine out of ten small businesses are concerned about Congress’ ability to reach consensus on expiring tax rates and other business provisions coupled with sequestration cuts—the so-called “fiscal cliff.” 59% say failure to address the fiscal cliff will have a direct impact on their company’s growth.

Of the small businesses surveyed, 72% said the health care law will make it harder for them to hire. Specifically, they will scale back their workforce to avoid triggering the employer mandate and cut back on full-time workers.

78% of small business owners are looking for government to “get out of the way,” noting that decisions in Washington impact their business. Additionally, 96% believe it is important to vote for a candidate that supports free enterprise.

“This November, we need a change in Washington in order to stimulate economic growth and create jobs,” said the Chamber’s Senior Vice President and National Political Director Rob Engstrom. “Small business owners cannot afford more of the same failed policies.”

To read a complete copy of the Q2 Small Business Outlook Survey, please visit: http://www.uschambersmallbusinessnation.com/uploads/New_Q2Chamber_Survey_July%202012%20Harris%20Report%2007_16_12.pdf

Survey Methodology

The Q2 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Study was conducted online between July 2, 2012 and July 9, 2012 by Harris Interactive among 1,225 U.S. Chamber members and non-U.S. Chamber members. Data was weighted to be representative of the small business population. The survey defined a small business as a company with fewer than 500 employees and annual revenues of less than $25 million.

This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. This report contains data from this survey and references data collected in the Q2, Q3, and Q4 2011 and Q1 2012 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Study.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

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