As more and more states increase labor costs through their regulations, mandated benefits, increased wages and the like, many have mentioned automation as the next big step in the evolution of small businesses.  Against that backdrop, we took special note of a story this week about a second Eatsa opening, this one in New York City. Eatsa is a fully automated restaurant operating in Washington DC, no doubt with very low labor costs. This week the Baltimore Sun reported that a number of large retailers in Maryland had agreed to end the practice of having hourly workers “on-call” to work shifts in the event they were needed. Their agreement came in response to letters of inquiry (read: threats of lawsuits?) the companies received from the Attorney Generals of nine individual states (California, Washington, Minnesota, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island) earlier this year.  Probably just a coincidence, but we note that all nine of the “inquiring” states were won by Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.  Speaking of the presidential election, small business insurance firm Insureon recently released a small business survey they conducted one week after the presidential election. The survey of 1000 businesses across the country found that 82% of small businesses anticipate some type of growth in 2017, with 33% planning to hire.