Small businesses may become a big election issue this fall.
Following the troubling news Thursday that weekly jobless claims have hit a nine-month high, President Obama issued a statement pinning much of the blame for the poor job market on the failure of Congress to pass a bill that would aid small businesses.
“These are the businesses that usually create most of the jobs in this country,” Obama said, according to Voice of America, before urging Congress to act more quickly on passing the bill.
To support this argument, Obama pointed to a recent study from the Labor Department that highlights the devastating impact small business struggles have had on the economy so far. The report found that more than 60% of all jobs cut in the private sector in the fourth quarter of last year occurred in small businesses with less than 50 employees.
The report confirms what many have argued all along: America’s job market depends largely on the health of our small businesses. In fact, estimates say that small businesses are responsible for providing 64% of the jobs in America.
Yet, when 2,000 small business owners were surveyed last month by the National Federation of Independent Business, these owners were found to be losing rather than gaining confidence in our economy. As a result, just 9% of those surveyed said they expected to hire more employees to their company.
The bill that the President is urging Congress to pass would provide as much as $30 billion to community banks to boost lending to small businesses and would also add $12 billion on top of that in tax breaks for those businesses. Variations of this bill have been stuck in the Senate for much of the year. And at the moment, the soonest the bill might pass would be sometime in September, after Congress returns from summer recess.