Survey: Small Business Owners Conservative On Risks, Not Likely To Hire

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Two-thirds of small business have not hired anyone in the past 12 months, according to a survey commissioned by The Hartford of 1,000 small-business owners across the U.S.

Among reasons they said they won’t be able to hire, 47 percent said the can’t afford to hire; 39 percent said their business isn’t growing and 39 percent said they are taking on additional responsibilities themselves.

The lack of hiring is part of a generally conservative tone among small business owners, according to results from a telephone survey of business owners conducted by Braun Research between April 19 and May 1. The Hartford Financial Services Group released its Small Business Pulse survey today.

Small business owners are less likely to take risks than a year before, according to The Hartford. In three different surveys, the percent who identify themselves as “conservative” in terms of taking risks increased from 49 percent to 73 percent to 80 percent in the spring 2012, fall 2012 and spring 2013 respectively.

“The decrease in the level of risk small business owners are taking is a significant concern,” The Hartford’s Chairman and CEO, Liam E. McGee, said in a prepared statement. “Entrepreneurs’ drive, determination and readiness to take risks are what fuels small business creation, innovation and success, and we need to instill an environment that encourages their growth and development.”

The survey found that 73 percent of small business owners “feel successful.”

There’s a decline in the percent of people who feel optimistic that the national economy will strengthen this year. When asked that question a year ago, 63 percent of survey respondents said they were optimistic about the economy improving. This spring, only 47 percent of respondents said they are optimistic.

When asked about major risks to their business, 52 percent of the survey respondents cited slow economic growth, 44 percent cited health care costs and 40 percent cited taxes.

Asked about whether federal spending cuts caused by the sequester would affect their business, 49 percent said it would and three-quarters of those said it would be a negatively affect their business.

About Matthew Sturdevant

Full-time staff journalist at The Hartford Courant and magazine freelancer with a master's degree in writing from Dartmouth. My work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Taiwan News, The Baltimore Sun and many other news sources. My blog has been referenced by Politico.com, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Georgetown Law Library and a number of organizations in healthcare and business. Sturdevant’s blog is "a well-written wealth of ideas," said The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, (businessjournalism.org, May 18, 2011). I have experience writing for newspapers, magazines, Web sites and blogs as well as shooting and editing video. I made regular appearances on news-talk radio and on the NBC affiliate station in Corpus Christi, Texas. I made occasional appearances on the Fox affiliate in Connecticut promoting Hartford Courant articles.

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One thought on “Survey: Small Business Owners Conservative On Risks, Not Likely To Hire

  1. Connecticut is Circling the Drain

    This comes as a complete shock. Not. Between Obamacare and the liberal braintrust in Hartford, its no wonder small business is in a defensive posture. Its amazing there is any small business left in this dying state.

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