Health Care, Energy Concerns Slow Small-Business Hiring
Overall, small businesses see Washington as the problem instead of the solution, with 81 percent asking Washington to get out of the way.Concerns about regulations and energy prices continue to impede growth for small businesses, according to a recent poll commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive between March 27 and April 2, found that while small-business confidence grew in the first quarter of 2012, small businesses continue to lose employees. Three in 10 (30 percent) of small businesses reported laying off employees in the last year. The poll of 1,339 small-business executives found that 8 out of ten small-business owners cite higher energy prices as an immediate threat to the success of their business. Small businesses concerned about gas prices has more than jumped in the last three months, increasing from 10 percent to 24 percent. The majority of small businesses (78 percent) do not think the administration is doing enough to keep prices low, increase domestic sources of energy or support American job creation. Additionally, nearly three out of four (73 percent) say the new health care law is an obstacle to hiring new employees.
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 Martin Regalia, the Chambers 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.