Michigan small businesses are resilient but they need support

A reputable statewide advocacy organization is out with an interesting study that looked hard at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses.

The Small Business Association of Michigan reports this week that that 72 percent of businesses are feeling optimistic about the survival of their businesses.

But that doesn’t mean small businesses in the state didn’t — and aren’t — facing significant challenges, as the pandemic seems to be winding down.

The survey, conducted June 8-18 of more than 600 Michigan small businesses, also revealed that:

≤ 47% of respondents say difficulty finding and keeping employees is the biggest problem facing their business.

≤ 50% of those surveyed expect to increase the size of their workforce over the next 6 months.

≤ 52% of small businesses have increased wages of their employees since the pandemic began.

≤ 78% of respondents said that COVID-19 had a negative impact on their business in 2020 and 63% say that COVID-19 is still negatively impacting their business.

≤ 63% of those surveyed reported a decline in sales in 2020 as compared to 2019, including 34% that reported a decline of revenues of more than 25%.

≤ 45% say the pandemic created permanent changes in the customers they serve.

≤ 91% of businesses received Paycheck Protection Program assistance during the pandemic, the largest source of relief by far.

≤ 33% of businesses reported staffing reductions due to the pandemic.

≤ 16% of businesses report struggling to pay bills as they come in.

“It’s encouraging to see optimism among small businesses despite all they have endured over the last 15 months of this pandemic,” said SBAM President Brian Calley. “Now that restrictions are lifted, we must address barriers to recruiting and retaining employees so that our economy may fully recover.”

Calley has a point. Lots has been accomplished to date but much more remains to be done, going forward.

Small businesses are the background to our economy, local and otherwise.

Let’s do everything we can to support them, including and, perhaps, most notably, spending our money in them.

The job you save may be your own.

— The Mining Journal, Marquette


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