Small-business owners report partial rebound in confidence: survey

The percentage of small-business owners who said they expect to continue operating for more than a year under current conditions has doubled in the past three months, according to a CNBC-SurveyMonkey poll.

A majority, 64 percent, said believe they can last for more than a year. Three months ago, 32 percent agreed.

About 1 in 4 small-business owners forced to lay off or furlough workers due to the coronavirus pandemic in March or April also now say they have rehired all their staff. A plurality, 34 percent, said they have only rehired some employees, while 15 percent said they have not rehired anyone and do not anticipate doing so.

In addition, a majority of small-business owners polled, 54 percent, said new safety precautions have led to unforeseen costs. However, only 9 percent of respondents said those costs are trickling down to customers through fees or higher prices.

“These latest results offer a glimmer of optimism from the small business world,” Jon Cohen, chief research officer at SurveyMonkey, said in a statement. “Even as seven in 10 small business owners say the pandemic has caused permanent changes in the way they operate, nearly as many of those who made it through the first throes of the crisis express confidence they can survive for a year or more. For many on Main Street, the strong sense is they’ve made it through a paradigmatic shift.”

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Overall, the survey found the Small Business Confidence Index at 53 out of 100, the second-lowest score ever and still lagging behind pre-pandemic results. Roughly 1 in 3 small-business owners polled — 36 percent — also say current conditions are “good.”  While this is twice the percentage of 2020’s second quarter, it is 20 points behind the first-quarter survey in February.

Pollsters surveyed a national sample of 2,040 self-identified small-business owners from July 20-27. The results have a 3.5-point margin of error.

Tags Coronavirus small businesses

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