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Survey: One-Quarter of Small Business Owners Say They Won’t Survive Next Six Months Without Economic Improvement

  • One-quarter of respondents in an ongoing small business survey indicate that they’ll need to close their doors within six months if economic conditions don’t improve
  • Fifty-three percent anticipate that they’ll need more financial support in the coming year
  • Survey also indicates broad support for the Paycheck Protection Program, which could be renewed in a stimulus proposal before Congress

One in four small business owners say they expect they will need to close within the next six months, according to a December survey by the National Federation of Independent Business. This share was up 5 percent from a survey issued in November.

The NFIB Research Center has issued 14 surveys since March to measure how small businesses are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and what they expect for the future. In addition to those concerned that they will close in the near future, 22 percent said they don’t think they will be able to operate more than seven to 12 months under current conditions.

Fifty-three percent said they will need more financial support over the next 12 months, and 22 percent said they think they will need to lay off employees. Forty-seven percent said they believe business conditions will return to normal in 2021, while 36 percent expect that it will take until 2022.

Ninety-one percent of respondents who received a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program said they have exhausted these funds. Forty-five percent said they would consider applying for a new loan if the program is renewed, while 33 percent said they would consider it.

Forty-four percent said they have applied to have their loan forgiven, up from 26 percent in November. Twenty percent said they are ready to seek forgiveness but their lender is not yet accepting applications.

Almost half of respondents who have already applied for forgiveness have received confirmation from the Small Business Administration, with more than three-quarters having their loan fully forgiven. Among small business owners who must repay at least some of the loan, 85 percent indicated that they need to do so because they also received funding through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans program.

Referencing the results of the survey, NFIB is encouraging Congress to restore PPP, make PPP loans tax deductible, streamline the forgiveness process, and allow PPP forgiveness if an applicant also received funds through EIDL.

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