National Poll Reveals Half of Small Businesses Won’t Add Jobs for More Than Six Months; Nearly One-Quarter Unsure of Future Hiring Plans

Facing continued uncertainty in 2010, many small businesses unsure of growth plans for the new year

Reno, Nev. – February 1, 2010 – As small business decision-makers closed the books on 2009, nearly half (46 percent) said it would require more than 12 months for their businesses to return to pre-recession levels in terms of annual sales, according to the Small Business Opinion Poll commissioned by EMPLOYERS®, America’s small business insurance specialist®. The national poll also reveals that 41 percent of small business decision-makers say it will be more than 10 months before they plan to begin hiring again. The Small Business Poll, conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, surveyed 500 small business decision-makers across the country.

Even as key economic indicators such as consumer spending and new home sales are beginning to show signs of recovery, EMPLOYERS’ latest Small Business Opinion Poll reveals small business decision-makers are still apprehensive about 2010. And as credit markets remain tight, 40 percent of small business decision-makers reported the recession negatively impacted their access to credit.

While there appear to be some signs of economic recovery heading into the new year, the latest findings from the Small Business Opinion Poll indicate small business decision-makers will remain cautious as they try to find ways to grow this year. America’s small businesses are the innovators who will drive growth and job creation in the next economic cycle, and measures should be taken to help facilitate their growth. EMPLOYERS is completely focused on serving small businesses and committed to providing them with helpful information to grow and run profitable businesses.

Small Business Opinion Poll Snapshot:

EMPLOYERS recognizes the challenges small businesses face as they focus on doing what is necessary to contain costs and grow responsibly for the future. No matter what the economic climate, small business decision-makers must continuously evaluate cost structures and work to enhance operational efficiencies. And because most businesses are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance, EMPLOYERS is committed to providing them with helpful information and insights into how they can ensure their businesses are protected while simultaneously maximizing operational performance and minimizing costs.

Following are eight simple steps small business owners can take to help control the costs associated with workers’ compensation insurance:

  1. Hire responsibly – Employers should take time to find the right employees for the workplace and use tools like employment applications, reference checks, pre-hire drug screens, motor vehicle driving history and background checks.
  2. Establish a safety program – Develop policies, procedures and rules. Provide employees with the necessary training, proper tools and personal protective equipment to do the job safely.
  3. Enforce safety rules – It is not enough to train employees and provide them with the proper tools. Businesses should routinely remind employees to work safely through the use of workplace audits, safety meetings, toolbox talks and annual training.
  4. Provide immediate medical care – Pre-arrange medical facilities for employees in the event of a workplace injury. Be prepared to provide transportation for non-emergency injuries. For emergencies, call 911. Always require a post-accident drug test to be administered.
  5. Report all injuries immediately – All injuries should be reported to insurance carrier within 24 hours of the incident. Ongoing communication between the injured employee and the claims adjuster is extremely important.
  6. Investigate all accidents and near misses – Businesses should review accidents to assess what happened and take necessary steps to make sure it does not occur again.
  7. Provide Alternate Duty Employment –Businesses should be prepared to offer employees alternate duties in the event they are unable to perform their previous job functions when they are released to return to work.
  8. Certificates of Insurance – Businesses should never hire another company unless that company has a valid Certificate for Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

About the Small Business Opinion Poll

The survey commissioned by EMPLOYERS sampled 500 owners or managers of small businesses with 1-99 employees. Data was collected through telephone interviews during the period October 22 – 29, 2009 at the 95% confidence level. The sample is stratified across business size and industry grouping, including manufacturing/construction, transportation/ communication, wholesale/retail, financial services, or personal/professional services businesses. The survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation.

Contact Information

Media Contact: Lauren Meckstroth, The Abbi Agency
(775) 446-4678 or

Company Contact: Mike Paquette
(775) 327-2562 or

Investor Relations Contact: Adam Prior, The Equity Group, Inc.
(212) 836-9606 or

About Employers Holdings, Inc.

EMPLOYERS® and America’s small business insurance specialist® are registered trademarks of EIG Services, Inc. Employers Holdings, Inc. is a holding company with subsidiaries that are specialty providers of workers’ compensation insurance and services focused on select, small businesses engaged in low-to-medium hazard industries. The Company operates throughout the United States, with the exception of four states that are served exclusively by their state funds. Insurance is offered through Employers Insurance Company of Nevada, Employers Compensation Insurance Company, Employers Preferred Insurance Company, Employers Assurance Company and Cerity Insurance Company, all rated A- (Excellent) by the A.M. Best Company. Not all companies do business in all jurisdictions. See and for coverage availability.