06/11/2013 05:32 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Small Business Owners Almost Twice As Risk-Averse As They Were Last Year (GRAPHIC)

Entrepreneurs just aren't the daredevils they used to be, according to a new study.

Small business owners have become decidedly more conservative about how they operate, opting to avoid risks that include hiring new people or expanding, according to The Hartford's 2013 Small Business Pulse report. Thanks to the infographic below, it's easy to see that small businsses have become more risk-averse, with 80 percent now rating themselves as conservative instead of risky, compared with 49 percent just a year ago.

The play-it-safe attitude isn't great for the economy at large, The Wall Street Journal reports. Without small businesses taking risks that can lead to big payoffs, opportunities for job creation have been limited. Even though small business owners reported in May they were the most optimistic they've been in a year, capital investment and hiring remains low.

There may be several reasons for such a risk-averse approach, according to the Journal. One may be surging health care costs, making workers less likely to leave jobs to explore other opportunities, and slowing hiring because of higher premiums.

Here's a look at the increasingly risk-averse U.S. small business landscape, thanks to The Hartford's 2013 Small Business Pulse.

small business risk