The NFIB Research Center released its latest COVID-19 survey on the impact the pandemic has had on small businesses. 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.
“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. It is crucial that small businesses are given the resources and flexibility needed to ensure they will have a successful recovery.”
State-specific data is unavailable, but Mark Grant, state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, said, “It’s clear from the survey results that things are looking up for small businesses, but owners still are bracing for a slow recovery. Our hope is that the General Assembly will remember the tremendous economic pressure small businesses are under as legislators work to address Illinois’s financial crisis.”
Key findings include:
- Almost three-quarters (74%) of 2020 Paycheck Protection Program borrowers have applied for loan forgiveness.
- Seventy-three percent of those who have applied for PPP loan forgiveness have received final confirmation of their approved forgiveness amount from the SBA.
- The CAA reopened the PPP application and of those owners who did not receive a first-draw PPP loan in 2020, 20% have applied for a first-draw PPP loan.
- Of those businesses who received a first-draw PPP loan in 2020, 42% have already applied for a second-draw PPP loan and 2% are planning to apply for one.
- Seventy-eight percent of those who have applied for a second-draw PPP loan have been approved and 1% were denied. Eighteen percent have not yet heard from their lender.
- The 25% reduction in gross eligibility rule was the main factor for about three-fourths of those first loan PPP borrowers in not applying for a second-draw PPP. Another 17% were eligible but didn’t want to take a second loan.
- The America Rescue Plan Act of 2021 extended the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) through the end of 2021, however, still very few employers know that it exists. Only 7% of small business owners are very familiar with the program and another 35% are somewhat familiar.
- 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.
- 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.
- As more of the general population are eligible to get the vaccine, 45% of small employers will encourage their employees to get vaccinated and 2% report that they will require their employees to be vaccinated.
This publication marks NFIB’s 16th 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 2-4 weeks, found here. The full survey of the 16th edition is available here.