Seventy-one percent of small business owners still believe the U.S. economy is in a recession, according to a new survey.
The survey, by U.S. Bancorp, found that more small business owners consider the financial health of their company as "good" to "excellent." Sales volatility is less of a concern now than in years past, and the number one business issue on the minds of small business owners in the 2012 election is health care reform. The survey was released today on Connect, the small business Web site from U.S. Bank.
The U.S. Bank Small Business Annual Survey polled 3,220 small business owners with $10 million or less in annual revenues. Owners were surveyed between March and April 2012 in the 25 states where U.S. Bank provides small business banking services, primarily in the Midwest and Western part of the country. The questions centered on economic conditions, business conditions, business challenges, 2012 election issues, work/life balance and banking relationships.
"Small business owners are creating ways to succeed, despite lingering concerns about the economy," said U.S. Bank vice chairman of consumer and small business banking Rick Hartnack in a statement. "Business is rebounding, especially among businesses with at least $1 million in annual sales and five or more employees. For those businesses, prospects for growth are particularly strong, as are their plans to hire."
Overall, 69 percent of respondents said the financial health of their business was "good," "very good" or "excellent," up from 64 percent in 2011. This year, 29 percent said they saw a revenue increase over last year, which is up slightly from 26 percent in 2011. Less than half expect to see the revenue at their business improve next year. However the numbers differed among businesses with at least $1 million in annual sales. For these larger businesses, 40 percent saw an increase in sales over 2011, 58 percent expect revenue to grow next year and 34 percent say they plan to hire in the next 12 months.
"Economic uncertainty" remains the number one concern cited among respondents. "Poor sales." the second biggest challenge for the past two years, is less of a concern this year, with only 12 percent citing sales as a challenge. Health care reform is a growing concern, with 60 percent of the small business owners polled saying they believe it will negatively impact their business, up from 57 percent in 2011 and 55 percent in 2010. States where small business owners are less concerned about healthcare reform than the national average include Washington, Oregon, California and Illinois.
The five top business issues on the minds of small business owners in the 2012 election are health care/Medicare, jobs and unemployment, taxes, the federal deficit/debt and Social Security. When asked which issues are more important this year versus the 2008 election, most said health care/Medicare, followed by the federal deficit/debt, jobs/unemployment, energy costs and taxes. When asked what they would do if they were the president of the United States for one day, small business owners said they would lower taxes, reduce regulations and tackle health insurance issues.
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