On July 16, 2013, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released the results of its “Q2 Small Business Outlook Study.” The Study found that small business executives (individuals employed in an executive position at a company with annual revenue less than $25 million and with less than 500 employees) were more concerned about the effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) than any other single concern. Concerns over the effects of the PPACA beat out “economic uncertainty,” “America’s growing debt & deficit,” and “high taxes,” to rank as the top concern for small business executives.
The Study found that only 30% of small business executives were prepared for the PPACA’s implementation, including understanding the requirements necessary to participate in the new health care insurance exchanges. The Study reported that a mere 17% of small business owners indicated that they added employees over the preceding two years. Almost one-in-four small business executives cited the PPACA as the leading obstacle to hiring additional employees. The Study also reported that 27% of small business executives indicated that they plan to reduce full-time employees, 24% intend to reduce hiring, and 23% plan to replace full-time employees with part-time employees.
It is unclear how the federal government’s delay of the employer mandate affected the results of the study. The delay of the employer mandate was announced on a blog posted on the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s website in the late afternoon of July 2, 2013 and a formal notice announcing the delay was not released until July 9, 2013. The Chamber of Commerce Study surveyed individuals from June 21, 2013 – July 8, 2013. Conceivably, some of the survey respondents could have known about the delay at the time they participated in the survey, but it seems safe to assume that many survey respondents submitted their response before the delay was announced or before they knew about the delay.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Study can be found here.