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BizReport : Research archives : March 24, 2010

Small Biz hopeful now that HIRE Act has passed

Although the economy may still appear gloomy to most businesses, some small businesses are showing signs of life - and optimism - thanks to the newly signed HIRE Act in the US. The act offers tax breaks to small businesses which make new hires in 2010. Over half of small businesses replying to a Manta survey about the act said they believe the incentives will help their businesses and that they will look at new hires this year.

by Kristina Knight

The original HIRE Act proposal supported a $5,000 tax break for small businesses making new hires. Of those Manta surveyed 57% replied they will consider new hires based on the act. The Act also offers a $1,000 tax incentive if new employees stay on-board for a year or more and offers an exemption of the 6.2% Social Security Tax until December 2010 if they hire people who have been out of work for 60 days or more.

"We have always tried to support our community, and this type of incentive program will help us put our community back to work," said Shannon Graham, Manta member and owner of GSI Contractors in Beavercreek, Ohio. "My staff and I definitely see growth potential as the economy begins to get back on track. There are many talented people in the job market at the moment, and we will take advantage of any incentives put in place to help us bring them on board and strengthen our organization, particularly in our field labor force. . .[These programs] have the potential to be a win-win for everyone."

Consumer Confidence may not be as strong as merchant or business confidence, however. According to The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, consumer confidence declined more than 5 points in February.

Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center said, "Concerns about current business conditions and the job market pushed the Present Situation Index down to its lowest level in 27 years. Consumers' short-term outlook also took a turn for the worse, with fewer consumers anticipating an improvement in business conditions and the job market over the next six months. Consumers also remain extremely pessimistic about their income prospects. This combination of earnings and job anxieties is likely to continue to curb spending."

Tags: consumer confidence, HIRE Act, merchant confidence, small business advertising

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