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Friday, February 10, 2012

Time to Leverage Small-Business Owner Optimism

Gallup testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business in a hearing on: "The Path to Job Creation: The State of American Small Business" in February. Gallup was able to bring the committee the good news that small-business owners are now more optimistic than they have been at any time since 2008, based on a new January Wells Fargo-Gallup Small Business Index poll.

Further good news included small-business owner hiring intentions that are now as high as they have been at any time in the past four years. This is consistent with the increased level of hiring activity reflected by Gallup's Job Creation Index findings.

At the same time, Gallup highlighted some of the major challenges facing American small businesses. After asking owners in several different ways, Gallup reported that a major concern of small-business owners is government regulations. Gallup will provide more insights into these challenges in the next few weeks on

Gallup suggested that one thing Congress could do to build on current small-business owners' optimism is to implement a one-year moratorium on all new regulations. Of course, the resulting surge in small business hiring could exacerbate the problems many small businesses have in finding qualified employees. In turn, this led to another Gallup suggestion that government find a way to encourage small businesses to employ interns, or have similar on-the-job training for employees, so these workers can gain the skills and experience needed in the 2012 workplace.

Right now, many small-business owners are hiring fewer employees than they need. Given their improving optimism, Congress should do whatever it can to build on that confidence. Doing so would unleash the potential for a hiring surge that could result, if only small businesses were able to begin hiring the workers they need. 


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