Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Small Business Pulse Survey, Phase 2

It's baaack. Last week the Census Bureau released the first findings from phase 2 of the Small Business Pulse Survey, collected August 9-15. The Small Business Pulse Survey, which is measuring the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on small businesses, was on hiatus for six weeks as the bureau tinkered with questions and prepared for phase 2. Phase 1 of the survey lasted from April 27 to June 27. That was supposed to be the end of the Small Business Pulse Survey, but the coronavirus had other plans. Phase 2 of the survey will collect weekly data from August 9 through October 15. Whether there will be a phase 3 of the survey remains to be seen. Here's a look at some of the new phase 2 questions and answers during the week of August 9-15...

Supply chain problems are common:
"In the last week did this business have any of the following?"
Domestic supplier delays: 29.4%
Delays in delivery/shipping to customers: 18.0%
Difficulty locating alternative domestic suppliers: 12.6%
Production delays at this business: 9.0%
Foreign supplier delays: 10.0%
Difficulty locating alternative foreign suppliers: 3.7%
No supply chain problems: 61.5%

Most businesses are experiencing reduced operating capacity: 
"How would you describe this business's current operating capacity relative to one year ago?"
Decreased: 55.2%
No change: 37.5%
Increased: 7.3%

Physical distancing requirements are limiting operating capacity for many businesses:
"In the last week was this business's operating capacity affected by any of the following?"
Physical distancing of customers: 21.0%
Availability of personal protective equipment and/or related equipment or supplies: 21.0%
Availability of other supplies or inputs used to provide goods or services: 14.4%
Physical distancing of employees: 11.1%
Ability to rehire furloughed or laid off employees and/or hire new employees: 8.6%
Ability of employees to work from home: 3.2%
None of the above: 57.5%

Many businesses say they need to increase sales or obtain financial assistance:
"In the next 6 months, do you think this business will need to do any of the following?"
Increase marketing or sales: 32.8%
Obtain financial assistance or additional capital: 26.8%
Identify and hire new employees: 23.4%
Learn how to better provide for the safety of customers and employees: 19.3%
Identify new supply chain options: 14.1%
Develop online sales or websites: 13.9%
Permanently close this business: 5.5%
None of the above: 32.7%

Both phase 1 and phase 2 of the Small Business Pulse Survey have asked businesses how long it would be before operations return to normal. During the week of August 9-15, the 57 percent majority of small businesses said it would be more than 6 months before a return to normal. This was the highest level of pessimism recorded in any week of the survey.

Source: Census Bureau, Small Business Pulse Survey

No comments: