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.