About 76 percent of small businesses are being hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey put out Monday by the National Federation of Independent Business.
The NFIB Research Center said its latest survey is a stark contrast from a similar survey released 10 days ago when less than 25 percent of small businesses reported negative impact. The magnitude of the disruption now is “profound,” the NFIB said.
Only one-in-five (20 percent) of small businesses are not currently affected by the outbreak, but even 77 percent of them anticipate that will change if the outbreak spreads. This marks a sharp escalation from the earlier survey. Just 4 percent do not believe they will be impacted if the outbreak escalates and 18 percent are not sure.
The NFIB represents small businesses, and it has chapters in each state. After the survey was released Monday, the California director, John Kabateck, said, “Small business recovery will be the pathway to America’s recovery.”
Although the coronavirus is whacking most small businesses, about 5 percent of surveyed businesses are being positively impacted. These firms likely are experiencing stronger sales due to a sharp rise in demand for certain products, goods and services, the NFIB said, but those sales may slow soon.
The level of concern among small business owners about the coronavirus impacting their business has elevated significantly over the past two weeks. About 68 percent of small business owners are “very” concerned about its potential impact on their business, way up from 16 percent in the earlier survey.
Almost all small business owners are taking some sort of action adjusting to their changing economic condition or to protect themselves from potential disruption. Just 6 percent of owners have not taken any action in response to the outbreak, a marked departure from the 52 percent that said they were not taking action two weeks ago.
While many small businesses (47 percent) have not talked with their bank about financing needs, 30 percent are planning to do so soon. Another 13 percent have talked with their personal bank already.
The survey was conducted by email on Friday with a random sample of NFIB’s membership. The survey got 700 usable responses, all employers with up to 360 employees.