Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Small Businesses Still Pessimistic

When the coronavirus first swept through the country, most small businesses were optimistic about a rapid return to normal. Only 39 percent told the Census Bureau's Small Business Pulse Survey during the week of April 26-May 2 that they expected it to be more than six months before their operations returned to normal. As the pandemic dragged on, however, business pessimism grew. By the week of May 17-23, a larger 52 percent majority of small businesses thought it would take more than six months before normal returned. 

Hope rekindled in June, however. During the week of June 7-13, the share of small businesses that thought it would be more than six months before a return to normal fell back below the 50 percent threshold—to 47.4 percent. But the optimism lasted only a week. As the summer surge commenced, the percentage of businesses expecting it to be more than 6 months before a return to normal again climbed above 50 percent. And that's where it has been, week after week, ever since. 

Percent of small businesses expecting it will be more than 6 months before operations return to normal, or operations will never return to normal, or the business has permanently closed
Week 1 (4/26-5/2):     37.6%
Week 2 (5/3-5/9):       39.0%
Week 3 (5/10-5/16):   41.6%
Week 4 (5/17-5/23):   51.8% (first time above 50 percent)
Week 5 (5/24-5/30):   50.8%
Week 6: (5/31-6/6):    51.1%
Week 7 (6/7-6/13):     47.4% (last time below 50 percent)
Week 8 (6/14-6/20):   50.3%
Week 17 (9/27-10-3): 52.9%

Source: Census Bureau, Small Business Pulse Survey

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