Washington, D.C. (September 10, 2021)—Today, the Job Creators Network Foundation (JCNF) released the data from its August Monthly Monitor poll of 500 small business owners. The poll’s Small Business Intelligence Quotient (SBIQ), an index tracking overall small business optimism, fell sharply to 59.4—a drop of 4.1 points. The indicator is at a record low reading since the monthly survey launched in May.
Meanwhile, higher prices and inflation continue to be a leading concern among small businesses, followed by consumer spending and the threat of future COVID-19 restrictions. Seventy-five percent of respondents are worried about COVID-19 cases triggering government mandates that impact businesses. Only 33 percent of respondents said a government vaccine mandate would help small businesses while a plurality said it would hurt. The topline findings include:
- Small business employer attitudes soured in August. The JCN SBIQ decreased from 63.5 to 59.4 (-4.1). More specifically, concern about future economic expectations dropped sharply by 4.9 points and their assessment of current conditions dipped by 2.9 points.
- There was a significant drop in the number of small businesses saying they would hire more workers, raise wages, and offer more hours over the next three months.
- 75 percent of business owners said that increasing COVID-19 cases triggering government mandates and the associated impact on businesses was a concern—with 36 percent saying it was a “major concern.” And although they are troubled about the virus, 42 percent said mandatory government vaccinations would hurt small businesses while only 33 percent thought they would help.
- Small business owners are concerned about inflation. More than 35 percent of small businesses named inflation as their biggest or second biggest concern right now. Concern about COVID-19 restrictions also topped the list jumping from 16 percent to 21 percent.
- Small business owners are concerned about the climate for small businesses with only 38 percent of small businesses thinking that the environment is getting better—a 9 point drop from July’s rating.
Elaine Parker, President of the Job Creators Network Foundation, released the following statement:
“Concerns among small business owners are mounting and it’s having a dramatic effect on how they view the future, which could impact hiring, wage growth, and the potential for business expansion as the economy weathers the lingering pandemic. This vaccine mandate is an overreach of federal authority that threatens to weaken their optimism further. Trillion-dollar spending bills have become the norm, rather than the exception, which will push costs up for consumers and entrepreneurs alike. Meanwhile, a damaging cocktail of tax hikes and burdensome regulations are next on the docket. The Biden administration needs to stop its war on small business and rethink its tax and spend agenda. Main Street depends on it.”