Survey Finds Things Are Improving But Small Business Recovery Remains Fragile
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Survey Finds Things Are Improving But Small Business Recovery Remains Fragile

Survey Finds Things Are Improving But Small Business Recovery Remains Fragile

The NFIB Research Center has released its newest survey on how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted small businesses. Despite the rise of some positive economic indicators, some business operators are still struggling to stay open. According to the latest report, 13% percent of small business owners say they will have to close their doors if current economic conditions do not improve over the next six months. That number is down from 25% in December. This is the 16th survey in a series that began in March of 2020.

“After a year of the Covid-19 pandemic and the challenges that came with it, small business owners are working hard to see a brighter future for their businesses,” said Holly Wade, executive director of NFIB’s Research Center. “Economic conditions seem to be easing for some, but the overall recovery remains uneven across small business industries.”

Key findings of the latest study include:

Sales levels are 50% or less than they were this time last year (2020) for 22% of small businesses with another 21% at sales levels of 51%-75% of pre-crisis.

  • Thirty-five percent of owners are back or nearly back to where they were with sales between 76%-100% of levels in 2019 with another 23% exceeding sales levels during this time in 2019.

Thirteen percent of small business owners report that they will have to close their doors if current economic conditions do not improve over the next six months, down from 25% in December.

  • Fifteen percent of owners anticipate they will be able to operate no longer than 7-12 months under current economic conditions.
  • Just under three-fourths (72%) are better situated and do not anticipate any near-term problems.

The economic outlook has improved slightly over the last few months with 11% of owners reporting that conditions are back to normal now, a six-percentage point improvement from late January.

  • Twelve percent of owners anticipate it taking until the first half of 2021 for economic conditions to improve and 34% anticipate sometime in the second half.
  • About one-third (32%) of owners are less optimistic and expect conditions not to fully improve until sometime in 2022 and 11% after 2022.

Almost half (44%) of owners have had an employee take Covid-19 related sick or family leave.

  • Of those employers, 81% offered paid leave to all or some of those employees taking COVID-19 related leave and 42% of them have claimed the tax credit for reimbursement of those costs.

The full survey of the 16th edition is available here.

Published: April 7th, 2021

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