Self-Employed and the Economy

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Self-Employed and the Economy

Self-Employed and the Economy

March 2012


The nation’s smallest businesses are still feeling negative effects of the economy, including cash flow issues for business and family, according to a new survey by the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE). Three-quarters of the self-employed and micro-businesses owners say their company provides the main source of income in their household.

“Sadly, our survey re-enforces the idea that economic recovery is slow going and that 70% of survey respondents believe that current state of the economy has either shown no improvement or has worsened in the last 12 months,” stated Katie Vlietstra, Director of Government Affairs for NASE. “It is also evident from our survey that our members are perplexed at what they perceive as little action by Congress to put forth common sense ideas to address key issues related to the self-employed and micro-business community. For example, a permanent health insurance deduction, individual tax reform, and access to capital - three things that could significantly and positively impact the nation’s economy.”

Notable findings include:

  • 50% self-employed and micro-business owners have had to refrain from making improvements or growing their business in the last year.
  • 46% have had to utilize personal savings or retirement savings to address cash flow issues.
  • 33% are having difficulty affording basic needs (housing, utilities, food, etc).
  • 80% are not planning on hiring workers (full-time, part-time, or temporary) this year.

The full survey can be found here: Self-Employed and the Economy- Survey Results.

The following responses are from are from micro-businesses regarding how they have fared in the past year:

  • No credit available for operating capital contrary to government claims programs. The only way to get loan is if you don't need it!

  • I have had to file bankruptcy to keep my health insurance on myself and my employee.

  • I have gone without pay.

  • I took on a part time job that provides health benefits since I could no longer afford to pay for my own.

  • I have experienced greater uncertainty about the status of my business. I have not been able to plan more than a few months ahead because my customers are unwilling to commit to contracts until the last minute.

  • I’ve had to close the office and work from home.


The survey was available for NASE members to take in February and March. Almost 490 small business owners opted-in to the online survey and respondents were prohibited from taking it more than once.

About the NASE

The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) is the nation’s leading resource for the self-employed and micro-businesses, bringing a broad range of benefits to help entrepreneurs succeed and to drive the continued growth of this vital segment of the American economy.  The NASE is a 501(c) (6) non-profit organization and provides big-business advantages to hundreds of thousands of micro-businesses across the United States.  For more information, visit the association’s web site at

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