The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) said May’s jobs numbers are not surprising given flawed government policies that continue to jack up business costs and fuel uncertainty. The unemployment rate increased to 9.1 percent, and employers only added 54,000 jobs last month according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
“Energy and health care costs are rising, and additional policy uncertainties remain a drag on small business confidence. The central barrier to business growth and job creation is bad government policies. Yet, the Administration appears set in its way on moving forward with a costly health care plan, regulations and proposals that will drive energy costs higher, and a wide-ranging set of other policies that will impact the availability of capital and investment across sectors,” said SBE Council President & CEO Karen Kerrigan.
A survey released this week by SBE Council found that small businesses are overwhelmingly disappointed with federal government policies. The financial outlook for their firms also remains tenuous over the next six months. In addition, the “Entrepreneurs and the Economy” survey found that high gas prices are undermining their ability to add jobs and compete. In fact, just over a quarter of small businesses (26 percent) have already cut back jobs or employee hours because of higher gas prices. Meanwhile, 47 percent report that higher gas costs are affecting their plans to hire. A staggering 38 percent of small business owners believe if gas prices remain high or increase further their business will not survive. In testimony before Congress last week, Kerrigan expressed her deep concerns that high gas prices were undermining the economic recovery and had the potential to do much more harm.
“You would think that the Administration would see an opportunity – and the need -- to ramp up efforts to help increase domestic energy exploration and development by streamlining government regulations and minimizing uncertainties for the industry. Such a move will help create jobs and stabilize energy prices,” added Kerrigan.
Raymond J. Keating, chief economist for SBE Council, noted, “This jobs data is not surprising in that it reflects a continuing grossly under-performing economic recovery. And small business owners are not a confident bunch these days, especially given the challenges of high energy costs and the uncertainties swirling around governmental policies. In the end, job creation is overwhelmingly about small business, and little has been done to boost confidence in this sector.”
Time for President Obama to really listen to small business owners!