09/06/2011 06:01 pm ET | Updated Nov 06, 2011

Will Small Business Put America Back To Work?

Despite the general gloom and doom about jobs, almost half of small businesses say they're planning to hire within the next six months, outpacing those that say they're not hiring, according to a study released today by Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project.

The study, conducted with Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp., surveyed approximately 7,500 U.S. small businesses (those with less than $5 million in revenues) and found that 40.7 percent plan to hire within six months, compared to 38.1 percent that don't plan to hire and 21.2 percent that don't know.

What can the government do to increase the hiring momentum? The small businesses surveyed said the policies most likely to lead to job creation in 2012 were increased access to capital (34.8 percent), followed by tax incentives (23.2 percent) and regulatory reform (18.3 percent).

Jeffrey Stibel, chairman and CEO of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp., said in a statement that the study "strips away all the noise and clutter we hear in the news and uses objective research criteria to tell us why small business owners are not hiring: The answer is access to capital."

The generally optimistic hiring projections came in spite of the top three issues small businesses said they face today: economic uncertainty (38.2 percent), access to capital (26 percent) and government regulation and taxes (24.2 percent).

"Small businesses should be a top consideration as the President and other legislators seek to jump start job creation," John Paglia, associate professor of finance and lead researcher of the Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project, said in a statement. "Establishing market confidence, improving access to capital and improving regulatory and tax structures are the most direct route to end the Great Recession and spark the Great Recovery."