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Survey: Health Insurance Costs Remain the Top Problem For Small Businesses

  • NFIB four-year survey says health insurance costs continue to be the biggest problem small businesses face
  • Health costs have been the top pain point since 1986, and fewer small businesses are offering these benefits
  • Survey identifies finding qualified employees and a variety of taxes as other issues affecting small businesses

Small businesses identified the cost of health insurance as the most pressing problem they face in the 10th edition of the National Federation of Independent Business “Small Business Problems and Priorities” report, which it has released every four years. Health insurance costs have been the top problem since 1986, with 51 percent identifying it as a critical problem. Thirty percent of surveyed small businesses say they offer health insurance, down from 43 percent in 2009.

Locating qualified employees was the second most pressing problem, moving up from 10th in the 2016 survey. The issue reflects the low unemployment rate in the United States when the survey was issued, just before the COVID-19 pandemic caused a spike in jobless numbers, but NFIB anticipates that employers will continue to face challenges in finding workers.

The share of small businesses ranking taxes as a critical issue has shrunk since 2012. However, tax issues accounted for four of the 10 top issues identified by small business owners, including federal taxes on business income, state taxes on business income, property taxes, and tax complexity.

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