This factory, these stores are the kinds of small businesses that account for a significant part of America's economic activity.Confidence by the owners of these stores and factories is down as election year anxiety rises, according to a Bank of America's survey.
“It is really important because small-business owners walk a very fine line around profitability and if you think about what some of the biggest expenses can be for a small-business owner, it can be taxes, it can be the minimum wage can have a huge impact, and health care costs.So when you think about those three items, it could actually make or break a business.”
The call by both the leading Republican and Democratic presidential candidates to increase the minimum wage is especially worrying for small businesses, which are defined as companies having 100 employees or less.Steve Hong, who owns a garment factory in Manhattan, opposes the city's mandate to raise the minimum wage to 15 an hour by the end of 2018.
“I tried to give my workers a little bit of a raise every single year and most of my workers average about between 11 and 13 and that's probably, in this industry, one of the higher ones.But now with the new law of 15 an hour minimum, you're raising the minimum from 8.75 to 15 in three years, which is 80 percent.I don't know how to sustain that. ”
Nearly three-quarters of small-business owners also worry about rising health care costs.In fact, the survey shows 22 percent are postponing hiring, citing uncertainty regarding the election and health care policy.Chief Economist Tara Sinclair of the employment search engine indeed.com says radically different policies from the left and right create challenges for business.
“I do think that employers are really struggling to get a sense of how to make their hiring plans for the long term in the current political environment because they are hearing very different potential economic policies and that makes it more challenging than any specific policy.It's not knowing what the policy will be.”
And with some small businesses still struggling to recovering from the recession, the stakes for the 26th presidential election loom a specially large.