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Survey: Small business can’t last that much longer

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National Federation of Independent Business,

The NFIB Research Center released its latest survey [3] focusing on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic and imposed shutdowns have had on small businesses. This is the 14th survey since early March. One-in-four small business owners reported that they will have to close their doors in the next six months if the current economic conditions don’t improve, up 5% from last month. Another 22% of owners anticipate they will be able to operate no longer than 7-12 months under current economic conditions.

“Many small businesses are facing additional challenges right now related to weather conditions and renewed business restrictions across the country,” said Holly Wade, Executive Director of NFIB’s Research Center. “The next few months might prove to be the most difficult time for small businesses since the initial shutdown last spring. It is crucial that Congress provides financial relief for small businesses as we head into the winter months.”

Key findings from the survey include:

The majority of Paycheck Protection Program borrowers (91%) have spent their entire PPP loan.

Significantly more borrowers have submitted their PPP loan forgiveness application over the last month – 44% of owners have submitted one, up from 26% last month.

Almost half of small business owners who have submitted a PPP loan forgiveness application have received final confirmation from the SBA and over three-fourths of them had 100% of their loan forgiven.

Of those PPP borrowers who have not submitted their forgiveness application yet, 56% report that they plan to submit it by the end of the year.

After using the PPP loan, 22% of borrowers have or anticipate having to lay off employees in the next six months, a slight increase from 19% a month ago.

Twenty percent of PPP loan borrowers find that the forgiveness application was difficult or moderately difficult process.

About one-third (34%) of small business owners have applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).

One-in-five small business owners have applied for a state or local grant.

Nineteen percent of small employers reported they have fewer employees than they did this time last year and 11% have significantly less.

Sales levels are still 50% or less than they were pre-crisis for one-in-five (20%) small businesses with another 29% at sales levels of 51%-75% of pre-crisis.

Most small business owners do not expect business conditions to improve to normal levels until next year at the earliest.

Twenty-seven percent of small employers have had an employee take COVID-19 related paid sick leave or family leave as mandated and offered through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

About one-in-five (19%) of small employers are very concerned about their employees contracting COVID-19 with another 30% moderately concerned.

As more of the general population is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, 36% of small business employers will encourage their workers to get vaccinated.

Over half (56%) of small business owners plan to get vaccinated.

This publication marks NFIB’s 14th Small Business COVID-19 survey assessing the health crisis impact on small business operations, economic conditions, and utilization of the targeted small business loan programs. The first series was published in early March 2020 with subsequent publications every 2-3 weeks, found here [4]. The full survey of the 14th edition is available here [3].

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