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Thursday, December 06, 2012

Iowa Employer Confidence Plunges After Obama's Reelection- Obamacare, Regulations, Taxes Cited

By Susan Duclos

On November 29, 2012 we reported that Wisconsin business owners, employers, showed a 38 percent decrease in planned hirings and an 18 percent increase in planned layoffs, with the economy, regulation, healthcare and taxes all cited for the business owners increased pessimism.

Now  Hamilton Hiring Survey has surveyed Iowa employers and the news is just as devastating, showing Wisconsin is not alone in businesses planning to hire less and fire more.

Report will be embedded below the highlights.(PDF)

Semi Annual Hamilton Hiring Survey
Shows Iowa Businesses have Quickly Turned Pessimistic
  • Optimism for 2013 hiring falls significantly; 52% of respondents now pessimistic
  • New layoffs are expected
  • Hiring Authorities are very cautious – Healthcare, red tape and fiscal cliff the culprits 
  • “Wait and see” attitude at unprecedented levels
The Hamilton Hiring Survey for the first half of 2013 indicates that Iowa employers’ overall outlook for hiring has retracted considerably since last summer.

The company surveyed 5,000+ small and medium-sized employers about their sense of optimism for industry job growth in the first half of 2013. Results showed that only 24% of the respondents were either somewhat or very optimistic. This is down 30 percentage points from the 3rd quarter of 2012. “Business’s optimism for the first half of 2013 has fallen significantly,” Hamilton Group President and staffing expert Tom Hamilton said. “Over half of the respondents said they were somewhat or very pessimistic, the highest level in the past 3 years. Businesses have major concerns, and these concerns are not a good sign for job creation in 2013,” added Hamilton.

Other findings:

• Only 25% (down from 44% in the previous survey) of respondents said they expect to increase total employment over the next six months. Fewer business’s indicated plans to introduce new products/services and target new markets; “This is a troubling trend showing businesses are limiting growth plans and will not be creating new jobs,” said Hamilton.

•  Not everyone is ready to make a change, however. 24% (vs. 25% earlier in the year) of respondents fell into the “neither optimistic nor pessimistic about their business prospects” category, and 34% indicated there would be no change in their workforce or were essentially undecided about their future hiring. “We have clearly seen a significant change of respondent’s hiring plans from 44% earlier last summer citing “no change”, to only 34% today. The majority of those who moved out of the undecided category are moving to reduce their workforce”. In other words, many of those who were sitting on the fence have decided to reduce hiring,” said Hamilton. This was driven by respondent’s top three concerns which included:
  1. Costs and uncertainties surrounding healthcare
  2. Business regulations and red tape in their industry
  3. The approaching “fiscal cliff” on Jan 1, 2013: A combination of corporate and personal tax increases plus mandatory government spending reductions
•  The percentage of Iowa companies who plan to reduce their workforce was 20%, up from only 1% last summer. “Employers indicated they were planning significant layoffs for the first time in the last year. There is also a growing trend showing respondents plan to purchase new technology in lieu of hiring more staff,” added Hamilton.

•  Although pessimism has moved into Iowa’s employers mindsets, if a pro-growth decision on taxes and the debt ceiling can be reached, it could be expected that Iowa’s unemployment rate will remain between 5.1% and 5.4% into mid 2013. However, at best it means slow job growth for Iowa’s small and medium sized businesses. If confidence in the economic future can improve, business leaders in the indecisive and pessimistic groups could become more optimistic and be more willing to add to their staff.

Despite state after state showing what damage Obamacare, Obama's tax policies and regulations are doing across the country, Obama still maintains that if he cannot hike taxes which will affect 24 percent of businesses that have paid employees, 2.1 million businesses which employee 93 percent of employees that work for small businesses,  he is "Absolutely" willing to go over the fiscal cliff.

Iowa Hiring Survey