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The Morning Briefing: 2012 small business concerns

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"The Morning Briefing" is SmartPlanet's daily roundup of must-read stories from the web. This morning we're reading about issues concerning small businesses.

"The Morning Briefing" is SmartPlanet's daily roundup of must-read stories from the web. This morning we're reading about issues concerning small businesses.

1.) Small business and healthcare concerns. Many small businesses struggle in the current economic climate to maintain employee health cover and still generate a profit. In light of this crisis, some businesses are forced to reduce the amount of insurance they offer or remove it altogether from employee benefits. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is intended to make healthcare more affordable and accessible, and allow small businesses to reduce Medicare insurance spending.

2.) Small business owners show gender bias in relation to financial advisors (study). According to a recent study released by The American College, small business owners maintain a preference of speaking to financial advisors of the same sex. Men were found to exhibit a far stronger bias than women -- potentially, the disparities shown through this study may have wider implications for the American economy.

3.) CES 2012 preview for small businesses. As technology fans descend to Las Vegas this week for the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, advances in technology can be discovered which may be improve small businesses. Some of the top trends to watch are Smart TV's, Windows 8 updates and Ultrabooks.

4.) Bank of America in the firing line over small-business lending. After a report by the Los Angeles Times concerning the Bank of America stating small businesses must pay off their credit line balances immediately instead of making monthly payments, the lender has been placed in hot water. According to the report, customers who are unable to balance their credit immediately "are being offered new repayment plans for as long as five years, but with far higher interest rates than their original credit lines had." Due to this, there is speculation that the Bank of America is casting off its small-business custom as rapidly as possible.

5.) Is the American workforce becoming polarised? Employment levels post-recession have shown disparity between educational level and 'employability'. Middle-skill jobs are disappearing due to industry changes, and those with just high-school diplomas currently suffer the highest unemployment rates in the U.S. Arguably, a deep recession and slow economic recovery may have been mildly easier on those with higher skill levels to cope with. However, recent recession-oriented changes may have accelerated and cemented structural shifts which have the potential to polarise the American workforce.

Photo credit: Flickr

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Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure