According to a new survey by The Hartford Insurance Group, just a third of small businesses say they are optimistic the economy will improve this year. Their uneasiness about the sluggish economy has owners holding off on hiring.
Nearly 60 percent of the 2,000 small business owners surveyed back in August said they did not add staff in the last year. Of those same owners, 67 percent did not intend to hire over the next 12 months.
“In the last six months something has changed their view point,” said Liam McGee, president of The Hartford, which provides insurance to about a million small businesses. “There’s just so much uncertainty about all those things that it’s putting a damper on growth and hiring.”
This is distressing news about a segment of the economy the U.S. Small Business Administration says is responsible for creating more than half of all new jobs.
Slow economic growth (67 percent), taxes (59 percent) and uncertainty with federal regulations (56 percent) were listed as the top reasons by small business owners for their lack of enthusiasm toward the overall economy.
“The uncertainty of their perspective environment, as it relates to taxes and regulations, is creating a lack of confidence; and as a result of that they’re just not going to invest in people, in plant[s] and equipment,” said McGee.
Despite the economic melancholy, close to 70 percent described their business as “moderately successful,” a contradiction that McGee called the “can-do” nature of entrepreneurs.