The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s latest quarterly small business survey finds that Washington policies continue to hamper hiring and growth, with over a quarter of small businesses saying they have lost employees in the last year.

Key Findings

Health Care Law is Top Concern

  • Concern about Obamacare has increased by 10-points since June 2011 and by 4 points since last quarter.
  • 71% of small businesses say the health care law makes it harder to hire.
  • Only 30% say they are prepared for the requirements of the law, including participation in the marketplaces.
  • Among small businesses that will be impacted by the employer mandate, one-half of small businesses say that they will either cut hours to reduce full time employees OR replace full time employees with part-time workers to avoid the mandate. 24% say they will reduce hiring to stay under 50 employees.

Outlook for Hiring Remains Grim

  • 77% continue to think the U.S. economy is on the wrong track. However, small businesses are more optimistic about their local economy and individual business.
  • The majority (61%) of small businesses do not have plans to hire next year.

Small Businesses Looking for Legislative Solutions, Not More Regulation

  • Concerns about regulation have increased significantly from 35% last quarter to 42% now.
  • Small businesses are looking for leadership on issues that will remove barriers and encourage growth.
    • 88% of all small businesses support addressing entitlement spending to resolve America’s growing financial challenges and escalating debt.
    • 83% support Congressional efforts to reform the tax code—with the majority focusing on making it less complex.
    • 81% of small businesses surveyed believe the immigration system is broken and needs to be reformed.
    • In contrast to the President’s recent speech pushing new energy regulations, 90% of small businesses support easing EPA regulations and opening up more federal lands for drilling.
  • The only thing that scares small businesses more than what Washington has already done (23%) is what the federal government will do next (63%). 78% of small businesses are concerned about the prospect of Nancy Pelosi regaining her speakership following the 2014 elections.
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