Small Business Struggles Leave Many Without Work

7 years 10 months 2 weeks ago Thursday, December 02 2010 Dec 2, 2010 Thursday, December 02, 2010 7:57:51 AM CST December 02, 2010 in News
COLUMBIA - Jeremy Elson's former accounting teacher warned him that starting his own business would be the hardest thing he'd ever do. She was right.

Elson, the co-owner of The Defining Print, a downtown Columbia printing shop, started his business a month ago in what many economists consider the worst economy since the Great Depression. Two years after politicians won over voters by promising jobs, 80,000 more Missourians are looking for work and answers.

Missouri's unemployment rate has stalled as construction projects end, small businesses lack the confidence to ask for loans, and banks have been unwilling to lend. Elson didn't take a loan, instead pooling money with his partner and getting help from his partner's family. But the first month has still been tough.

"Everything that can go wrong will go wrong," he said. When you think you've gone over it enough, go over it again."

Elson said it's been a struggle to make money, but many small businesses don't even make it that far. Entrepreneurs are putting off starting a business or expanding operations because they're too afraid of going into debt, said Bob Hull, a small business specialist with Commerce Bank.

"They're just not to the point where they want to maybe take on a lot of debt to expand their business when they're not quite sure what's going to happen down the road," Hull said. "There's uncertainty on the part of small businesses and uncertainty on the part of banks -- it's just a reluctance to jump in with both feet."

Successful businesses have good histories and are in places where an outside investment could be just the thing they need to grow, Hull said. Kansas City, Mo.-based Commerce doesn't do much lending to start-up entrepreneurs, he said.

The lack of confidence is part of the reason 277,000 Missourians are looking for work. Small businesses create half to two-thirds of all U.S. jobs, according to various economists.

Missouri's U.S. Senate candidates both campaigned on their plans to help small businesses.

"Private sector jobs are the key to our economic future," Rep. Roy Blunt, a Republican, said during a debate in Kansas City. "We need a few government jobs, but government jobs don't pay the bill. They are the bill. We've seen a lack of focus on the things that create jobs."

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, a Democrat, also emphasized the importance of small shops.

"We need to focus on small businesses right here in Missouri," she said in an exclusive interview with KOMU 8 News. We also need to focus on middle class tax cuts. Right now, these tax cuts and tax subsidies continue to go to big oil companies and folks who are shipping jobs overseas and that's all got to stop."

There are 142,000 Missourians getting unemployment benefits from the state or federal government. For them, the money pinch is about to get worse.

People who've collected payments for less than 26 weeks will not be able to move on to extended benefits after Nov. 21. One week later, those who are already on a federal extension won't be able to move to the next level of benefits.

"After that deadline, that is the tier you will remain on," said Amy Susan, a spokeswoman for the state Labor Department. "Once you exhaust those, there are no other benefits for you at this time."

Carnahan also said she would support extending federal unemployment benefits.

Blunt refused repeated requests for an interview.

The state's 9.3 percent unemployment rate in September has been nearly stagnant for the last year. It's draining the state's unemployment insurance fund, leaving it $722 million in debt. Missouri is borrowing from the federal government to keep sending checks, but businesses will eventually be responsible for paying the money back.

The hole could eventually grow to $2 billion, Missouri Chamber of Commerce Taxation Director Tracy King said. She said other states have tried to raise business taxes to pay back the debt, but that's failed in such tough economic times.

Higher taxes certainly wouldn't help Elson, back at the printing shop. He said he's hoping to build a client base and make enough money to start advertising. Despite the difficulty of owning a small business, it's also rewarding, Elson said.

"It's really cool seeing the excitement on the customer's face," he said.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Sen. Claire McCaskill spoke about health care in Columbia on Friday at Laborers Local 955, as part of... More >>
3 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 7:35:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - After realizing the underrepresentation of Hispanic business owners in mid-Missouri, three Hispanic professionals established a group of 12... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 5:49:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - This is the last week of the regular season and it's a cold one. Our game of... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 5:20:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in Friday Night Fever
COLUMBIA - Two Midwest companies issued separate food recalls this week for bacterial contamination concerns. Hy-Vee said its supplier,... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 4:53:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
CAMDEN (AP) — Toxicology tests show that a boater was drunk when he slammed into a bluff at Missouri's Lake... More >>
7 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 3:41:35 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Legion of Black Collegians and the FourFront Marginalized Student Council held a solidarity walk Friday to show... More >>
7 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 3:39:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri State Medical Association (MSMA), along with multiple medical associations, reaffirmed their opposition to the three... More >>
8 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 2:50:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - For the fourth consecutive year, Project Homeless Connect provided services Friday for people who are experiencing homelessness... More >>
8 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 2:39:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Mega Millions jackpot has soared to an estimated $1 billion, as the second-largest lottery... More >>
10 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 12:10:00 PM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Police want the public's help finding a man who allegedly ran from a traffic stop after hurting... More >>
11 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 11:42:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Two MU residence halls and an atrium were officially dedicated on Friday honoring three former MU students. Lucile... More >>
12 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 10:09:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — Just 1 in 4 people thinks Brett Kavanaugh was completely honest when as a Supreme Court nominee... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 9:58:13 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- The US moved closer to acknowledging the role of Saudi Arabia in journalist Jamal Khashoggi's apparent death as... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 9:36:16 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
RANDOLPH COUNTY - MoDOT announced they will close Randolph County Route CC from Route FF to Route K on Monday,... More >>
14 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 8:30:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
FLORISSANT (AP) — Authorities have arrested a suburban St. Louis student after finding a loaded gun and a razor inside... More >>
15 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 7:46:15 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man has been sentenced to life in prison in the 1984 beating death... More >>
15 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 7:10:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City doctor has been sentenced to a year in federal prison for his... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, October 19 2018 Oct 19, 2018 Friday, October 19, 2018 6:51:00 AM CDT October 19, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS - Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and Republican opponent Josh Hawley were sometimes heated and often derisive as they... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, October 18 2018 Oct 18, 2018 Thursday, October 18, 2018 9:02:00 PM CDT October 18, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 53°
11pm 55°
12am 54°
1am 53°
2am 52°