The normally upbeat small business owner is expressing alarming concern over the economy, according to the SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard for September. The optimism survey found that fewer than 1 in 2--or just 45%--of small business owners are optimistic, a sharp 15-point drop from 60% in August.
This drop in optimism has likely caused the small business economy to decelerate, as our survey shows hiring down 0.2% and paychecks flat. This spells potentially bad news for growth in the near future, and maybe even beyond.
Why has the glass suddenly become half empty to a group of people who are normally ready to take on the world, regardless of the odds of success? The election seems to be weighing heavily on the minds of small business owners.
When we asked them whether the election was having an impact on how optimistic or pessimistic they are about the economy, and an overwhelming 77% of 411 respondents said yes.
So what specifically is driving small business owners' vote? On top of their collective list is: fiscal policy, tax policy, health care, the national debt, and national security.
Here are some other highlights of how small business owners are viewing the election:
While these survey results among small business owners may not surprise political reporters, the level at which optimism has been knocked off track is alarming. Whoever is elected and whatever he plans to do to create more jobs, he better keep small businesses top of mind. Small companies, after all, will ultimately help put the country back to work.