One-half of small employers say supply chain disruptions are significantly impacting business: NFIB survey

Sept. 20, 2021
Survey also revealed over one-quarter (27 percent) of small business owners are currently experiencing a significant staffing shortage.

Supply chain disruptions, staffing levels, and sales are cause for concern among small business owners across the country, according to the new COVID-19 survey by the NFIB Research Center.

Supply chain disruptions and the staffing shortage have become substantial issues for small businesses across the country,” said Holly Wade, executive director of NFIB’s research center. “Small employers are making business operation and hiring adjustments in order to compensate for both issues.”

One-half of small business owners reported that supply chain disruptions have a significant impact on their business, up from 32 percent two months ago, and 55 percent of owners impacted report that the supply chain disruption is worse than it was three months ago.

Over one-quarter (27 percent) of small employers are currently experiencing a significant staffing shortage. Of those small employers currently experiencing a staffing shortage, 25 percent are experiencing a significant loss of sales opportunities and 27 percent a moderate loss of sales opportunities because of their inability to fill open positions.

About half (49 percent) of small employers are receiving fewer job applications for their open positions than they received one month ago, and 36 percent are receiving about the same amount.

Small employers are adjusting to attract employees for open positions. Seventy-seven percent reported increasing wages, 17 percent increased paid time off, 16 percent offered or enhanced hiring bonuses, 18 percent offered or enhanced referral bonuses, and another 21 percent offered or enhanced health insurance benefits.

Sales levels are 50 percent or less than they were pre-crisis for 15 percent of small businesses with another 18 percent at sales levels of 51 percent to 75 percent pre-crisis levels.

Forty-one percent of owners are back or nearly back to where they were with sales between 76 percent to 100 percent of pre-crisis levels. About one-in-four (26 percent) are exceeding pre-crisis sales levels.

Twenty-one percent of owners report that economic conditions are back to normal now in their area.

Vaccinations and face coverings

About one-quarter (26 percent) of owners are asking employees if they are vaccinated, up from 19 percent two months ago.

When asked about mandating employee vaccination, 83 percent of small employers have no requirement or have not considered requiring employee vaccination. Fourteen percent of owners have considered mandating vaccination and three percent require employee vaccination.

Twenty-five percent of owners reported requiring employees and/or customers to wear a face covering. Of those businesses requiring face coverings, 27 percent found it difficult to enforce the face covering requirement.

Almost half (45 percent) of small business owners report that the recent rise in COVID-19 cases over the past two months has had a large or moderate impact on their business.

About a quarter (28 percent) of owners report that tariffs on Chinese products have a somewhat negative impact and 10 percent a significant negative impact on their business. Over half (54 percent) of owners report that the tariffs have no impact on their business.

For the complete survey results, click here.

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