For the second consecutive quarter, economic uncertainty and access to capital continue to rank as major obstacles preventing small business growth, according to fourth quarter results from the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Index Survey. While a steady 31 percent of respondents plan to hire employees during the next six months, those hiring plans will stop if Congress does not extend 2001-2003 tax certainty preventing an economic cliff dive.
“Small businesses are the pulse of Florida’s economy. They create four out of five new jobs in Florida, therefore it’s vital that we routinely monitor the health of this important job creator,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “While economic uncertainty and access to much needed capital remain priority concerns among small businesses, a larger concern is looming as more small businesses feel they are worse off today than six months ago and many may halt their future hiring plans if Congress doesn’t prevent the federal government from going over the fiscal cliff.”
According to the survey, 35 percent of small businesses believe their business is worse off today than six months ago – up from 25 percent in June. Further, 17 percent of small businesses will stop their current hiring plans, and even worse, 39 percent are unsure of their hiring plans if Congress does not act to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax certainty by the end of the year.
Setting the threat of a potential fiscal cliff aside, 31 percent of employers plan to hire during the next six months, a number that holds steady from June, 2012, and only 4 percent plan to lay off employees – unchanged from earlier this year.
Additional key findings from the Florida Chamber’s 4th Quarter Small Business Index Survey:
· Better Off: 28% believe their business is better off than six months ago – DOWN 9% from last quarter,
· Worse Off: 35% believe their business is worse off today than six months ago – UP 10% from June, 2012,
· Hiring: 31% of employers plan to hire employees during the next six months – UNCHANGED from June, 2012; 39% identified economic uncertainty as an obstacle preventing them from hiring new employees, while 35% say it is a lack of sales keeping them from hiring,
· Economic Uncertainty – Access to Capital: Of respondents needing financing during the last six months: 22% were able to obtain it – DOWN from 27% in June; 78% were not able to get the needed financing – UP 5% from June; 54% believe it will be harder to obtain over the next six months compared to just 12% who believes it will be easier.
· Economic Uncertainty – Regulations: 66% are worried or very worried that regulations, restrictions and taxes will negatively impact their ability to do business compared to 30% who are not very worried or not worried at all.