Survey Shows Twice as Many Small Businesses Say They Can Survive Current Conditions

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The weight of the pandemic no longer feels like mortal threat to many American small business owners, a survey of those businesses showed.

The share of owners who say their small businesses can continue operating for year or more under current conditions jumped to 64 percent in July,according to the CNBC SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey.  That is double the 32 percent who said in April — when many small businesses were shuttered by lockdown orders — that they could survive current conditions for a year.

Donald Trump’s job approval rating ticked up to 59 percent from 58 percent in April. That’s below the 64 percent approval rating Trump scored at the start of the year, an all-time high for the survey.

Trump has nearly recovered all of his support among men who own small businesses. This had fallen to 61 percent in April from 66 percent in February. It now stands at 64 percent.

Women who own small businesses approve of Trump by much smaller margins. Before the pandemic, 61 percent of women owners said they approved of Trump. In April, that fell to 53 percent and then ticked down to 52 percent in the July survey.

The share of businesses owners who say that current operating conditions are “good” jumped to 36 percent in this quarter’s survey, a big improvement from last quarter’s 18 percent.

Some 35 percent say demand for their business’s core products or services increased in the past three months, up from 17 percent last quarter. Forty-two percent said demand had fallen, a decline from 62 percent in April. Twenty-three percent said demand held steady.

Twenty-two percent of the owners said that sales were up over the past two months, up from 12 percent in April. Fifty-one percent said sales were down, a drop from 70 percent in April.

Back in February, 61 percent of businesses said they expected sales to increase over the next 12 months, with just 6 percent expecting a decline. In July, just 46 percent expected sales growth and 20 percent expected a contraction. That’s better than April’s 42 percent for growth and 36 percent for contraction.

Twenty-five percent say they expect to increase the size of their staff over the next 12 months, an increase from 19 percent in April but below 32 percent in February. Just 15 percent say they expect to shrink their staff, down from 22 percent in April.

 

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