With one month until the election, small business owners are reporting the highest level of uncertainty about the future of their businesses in more than decade, according to a third quarter United States Chamber of Commerce study.
Forty-nine percent said they are not sure if their business’ best days are ahead of, or behind them. This is up 11 points from June 2011. When asked what they would like to see from the nation’s leaders and lawmakers, 87 percent said they would like more certainty, nor more assistance.
More than eight-in-ten said they are very or somewhat pessimistic about the overall economy. Their economic uncertainty is translating to hiring freezes, downsizing, limiting hours for part-time employees, and scaling back investment into their businesses.
The survey shows a decline since last quarter in attitudes about the business climate compared to the previous quarter. Only 15 percent said they believe the economy will greatly or somewhat improve over the next two years, a decline from 19 percent in July. Similarly, six-out-of-ten small business owners say the climate for their business has worsened in the last two years, compared to 55 percent in July.
Almost two-thirds (61 percent) said they don’t expect to hire in the next year.
Almost all (93 percent) are concerned about the fiscal cliff; the year-end tax cuts and mandatory spending cuts that will be implanted at year’s end should lawmakers not reach an agreement.
As a result, small business owners are self-proclaimed motivated voters. Nearly all (97 percent) said they will be voting in November, with 92 percent saying they are “very motivated.”
A Millionaire Corner survey conducted in mid-September mirrors these findings. Sixty-two percent said they are very worried about the upcoming collection. Half said they are very worried about the fiscal cliff, while 48 percent said they are worried about the other party’s candidate being elected.
Forty-four percent of small business owners surveyed by Millionaire Corner, do not believe they are better off financially than they were a year ago. Fifty-four percent believe the economy is getting worse, while 45.5 percent attribute their pessimism to the poor performance of their portfolios.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.