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Source : Piqsels
March 19, 2021
Author : Alex Bustillos
A popular metric for the small business ecosystem, the Small Business Index by MetLife and the US Chamber of Commerce, shows some improvement in the first quarter of 2021.
The index for this quarter, released on Tuesday, increased from 52.9 to 55.9, the third straight increase. However, the gain was smaller than previous quarters’. Pre-pandemic index highs were roughly 71.
Despite the widening availability of coronavirus vaccine, lockdowns remain a feature of the U.S. economy and that is reflected in the 76 percent of respondents who say they remain concerned about the impact of the virus on their business.
The new quarterly survey also has the highest-rate so far of respondents saying that it will be at least another six months to a year before the small business economy returns to normal, a percentage of 59 percent.
The amount of respondents concerned about their small businesses’ finances, 76 percent, remains most;y unchanged from last quarter, when 75 percent said the same.
Meanwhile, 91 percent of business owners surveyed said that they are concerned over the pandemic’s effects on the national economy, while 84 percent said the same of their local economies.
One interesting finding is that minority and veteran-owned businesses show greater concern over their employees' mental health. Sixty seven percent of non-minority business owners share that concern, compared to 82 percent of minority-owned businesses. Sixty eight percent of non-veteran-owned businesses responded that it’s a concern compared to 81 percent of veteran-owned businesses.
Eighty eight percent of minority businesses, compared to 68 percent of non-minority businesses, say they will give employees mental health and wellbeing resources in some form.
The all-important question of whether small business owners feel their companies are in good health received a response that’s in line with what we have seen throughout the pandemic; 52 percent, so the glass is just a little more than half full, or almost half empty, depending on how you look at it.