Small business owners’ optimism has declined
Data indicating that small business owners are increasingly pessimistic about the coronavirus shows the need for continued economic stimulus measures, according to National Retail Federation Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz.
The Small Business Pulse Survey, launched on a weekly basis in mid-May, looks at issues such as employment, revenue and supply chain disruptions. In the survey’s first nine weeks, it found pervasive difficulties with business operations and finances, including temporary closings, employment, revenue and cash on hand.
Even though those issues have eased as the economy has begun to reopen, optimism has declined. The survey initially found 30% of respondents thought it would take at least 6 months for their businesses to recover from the pandemic, while 25% thought recovery would take only 2-3 months. In June, the number expecting recovery to take 6 months rose to 44% and only 10% thought it could come in 2-3 months. By the week ending August 15, 48% expected recovery would take 6 months, and only 4.1% though it might be possible in 2-3. Only 8.5% said their business had already returned to normal levels.
According to the Small Business Optimism Index from the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the number of businesses expecting economic conditions to be better in 6 months dropped 14 percentage points to 25%.