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3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: Nov. 7

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- What's happening in small business today?

1. What to expect from President Obama's re-election. While the president's re-election takes away some uncertainty for small-business owners, the question is whether he can help them expand and create jobs.

Small-business owners are anxious about taxes and the federal deficit as well as the health-care overhaul and too much regulation. The Associated Press spoke to a few experts on what to expect now that President Obama will serve a second term.

On taxes, Congress is likely to keep battling over the president's proposed raising of the top tax rate to 39.6%. However, Congress is more apt to come together to pass more tax incentives to help small businesses, the article says.

What's sure is that health-care reform will go forward. Key provisions of the law will go into effect starting in 2014, which includes the requirement that businesses of 50 employees or more must provide health insurance to their employees or risk penalty. However, costs won't be determined until states set up exchanges where individuals and companies can buy coverage.

As far as the economy, there may not be much more Obama (or Romney for that matter) will be able to do to accelerate it, the article says. Still, the federal deficit must be addressed. Obama will have to curtail federal spending, which includes government contracting, an area many small businesses rely on. Hiring will likely remain on hold until the fiscal cliff is dealt with. If the deficit isn't lowered, taxes will likely rise in the coming years, leaving small-business owners even less money to invest in their companies, the article says.

As for regulation, a mixed bag is expected. Obama must be vigilant that the regulations aren't too burdensome.

2. Disaster loans soar. Small businesses across New York and New Jersey are scrambling to pare losses, with most lacking the staff to handle insurance claims or secure financing for rebuilding. Business owners say they are juggling the rebuilding efforts along with the attempts to get some much-needed capital, according to Reuters.

"At least 40% to 45% of our customers in these areas have asked for disaster loans," said Rohit Arora, the CEO of Biz2Credit.com, a New York-based online service that helps small businesses secure various forms of financing. "Over the next two weeks, I foresee a bigger increase," Arora told Reuters.

But there have been some stepped-up efforts to reach out to struggling businesses. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) pledged up to $5 billion of incremental capital to lend to small businesses affected by the hurricane. Goldman Sachs (GS) is working in conjunction with New York City to provide additional loans for storm-affected small businesses.

The SBA added 100 additional staff to its Buffalo, N.Y., customer call center and 128 field workers to assist with the onslaught of requests for recovery-related financing, Reuters says.

Through Sunday, the SBA had issued more than 26,000 small-business loan applications to businesses in need of recovery loans.

3. Small-business hiring falls. Businesses with fewer than 20 employees created 10,000 fewer jobs in October than in September, according to the Intuit Payroll Small Business Index.

The monthly report provides insight into employment and revenue trends at the smallest businesses. The data is based on 170,000 small-business customers using Intuit's online payroll programs from Sept. 24 through Oct. 23.

Intuit revised the employment index to provide a better measure of employment for U.S. firms with fewer than 20 employees by adding four main inputs to the methodology: an expanded set of Intuit small-business payroll customers, monthly U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics private payroll, construction payroll and self-employment data. It was also revised to align more closely with the quarterly Business Employment Dynamics data from the BLS.

The October decrease in employment continues the mild decline that began in May, Intuit says. From March 2010 to May 2012, small-business employment grew by 150,000 jobs, totaling 19.9 million. Since May, small-business employment has fallen by 65,000 jobs, bringing total recovery to 85,000 small-business jobs, according to Intuit.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com.

>To submit a news tip, email: tips@thestreet.com.


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