Small businesses looking to qualify for some of the federal government's fourth-quarter contracting largesse are at a disadvantage because agencies will likely seek to confer big contracts on larger businesses, observers say. Twenty-three percent of federal contracts are supposed to be earmarked for small businesses, but sequestration cuts have decreased the amount of available contracts from $127 billion in the first three quarters of fiscal years 2010 through 2012 to $68 billion during the same period in fiscal 2013, according to Deltek.

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