Covid Uncertainty Weighs on Small Business Owners

August 12, 2021

The spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus has disrupted the nation’s economic reopening and created more uncertainty for small business owners. In CNBC’s latest small business survey, nearly 60% of small business owners said the threat of the virus has forced them to reassess their business outlook for the rest of the year.

In the aggregate, small business confidence, based on a survey of more than 2,000 small business owners, remains low, scoring just 45 out of 100. That is unchanged from last quarter’s score. In the first quarter of 2020, just before the pandemic began, the survey’s score sat at 61.

The good news is that the majority of small business owners feel confident they will be able to keep their doors open, even in the face of the challenges presented by the Delta variant. The survey found that 66% of respondents said they would be able to continue operating for more than a year under current business conditions.

Consumers too have shown resiliency in the face of the current Covid surge. A separate CNBC survey found that just 25% of the general public have changed their outlook for the rest of 2021 “a lot,” while 41% said their outlook has changed “a little,” and 32% say their outlook has not changed at all.

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