Business owners rank economy as top concern


Amid controversy over the national debt, three out of four small business owners surveyed in mid-July said they were concerned about it, according to Insperity, a Houston-based provider of human resources and business performance solutions that conducts quarterly business confidence surveys of its clients.  

About 70 percent of respondents in July said they were meeting performance goals, down from 76 percent in a May survey, yet the survey suggests uncertainty about the economy appears to be growing. One in eight business owners surveyed said they believed an economic recovery is under way, compared with one in four in May. About 40 percent said they don’t expect a recovery until 2012, according to the survey of 5,100 Insperity clients conducted July 12 through 14.

In addition, when asked what their top short-term  concerns were, 79 percent of business owners listed the economy, followed by health care (identified by 47 percent), government health care reform (46 percent), and operating costs (39 percent). Among long-term concerns, the federal deficit and national debt came out on top,  identified by  74 percent of respondents as a concern, followed by the  economy as whole (listed as a concern by 70 percent), government expansion and its impact on business (63 percent) and potential tax increases (61 percent).  

Data unrelated to the July survey indicate average compensation is up 4.2 percent compared to a year ago, while bonuses are down 3.9 percent, Insperity reported. But results from the survey suggest the trend might not continue with 63 percent of respondents saying they intend to hold compensation to current levels. In addition, 24 percent of respondents to the July survey said  they planned to increase employee compensation, down from 31 percent in May.