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Healthcare, Hiring And Economic Recovery Concerns Agitate Small Business Owners

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 5/1/2012

The latest Manta SMB Wellness Index shows that small business owners are hesitating when it comes to new business activity and planned 2012 initiatives.

Small business confidence may be softer than many people think, according to the results of the latest Manta SMB Wellness Index. Compared to the same time period last year, new small business activity fell 30 percent during Q1 2012 -- and Q4 2011 was down 39 percent compared to the last quarter of 2010.

Are Small Businesses More or Less Confident in 2012? - Manta Small Business

Additionally, an overwhelming majority of small business employers (80%) didn't hire a single worker during the first quarter even though many planned to hire this year. This may indicate that SMB are taking a "wait and see" approach when it comes to planned 2012 initiatives and investments.

Other small business issues addressed in the index include:

  • Healthcare. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is an ongoing source of confusion for small business owners. A quarter of owners have no idea how healthcare legislation will impact their companies. Half say that so far, it hasn't impacted their companies at all.
  • The Economy. Large numbers of small business owners (42%) don't believe that the U.S. economy is in a period of recovery. Another 21% aren't sure whether or not the recovery has begun.
  • Taxes. Approximately a third of SMB owners owed a larger tax bill this year than they did last year, and 40% of owners report that their company's taxes are more complicated than ever.

"Small businesses are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy, and so far, 2012 has shown mixed results in terms of a rebound. As a result, small businesses are forced to grow in new ways," said Pamela Springer, president and CEO of Manta.

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