Updated as of 5-8-20.
Explore the economic effects of the novel-coronavirus pandemic with over 7 million data points and counting. Updated weekly, these insights into the state of small business in America include major industries such as retail, food service, business-to-business, and healthcare. As unemployment claims surpass 33 million Americans, explore strategies and economic health points that matter most to small businesses and the one-in-five Americans employed by them.
COVID-19 Small Business Checkup
There are over 32 million small businesses in the United States, employing 60 million people. Each of them is now faced with a once-a-century crisis. COVID-19 has shuttered Main Street stores across the nation as individuals maintain social distancing orders and #stayhome to stay healthy.
The weekly small business checkup measures progress made as small businesses adapt, and bridge chasms left behind by COVID-19. Top-performing essential businesses have found an unexpected boon to bottom lines and increased goodwill by balancing health with consumer demand. Meanwhile, many non-essential businesses wait anxiously to rejoin an economy that, as recently as February, reached record production. And national unemployment rates may reach historic highs even as the stock market rallies toward recovery. Information captured in Small Business Checkup is intended to help small businesses and their allies inform strategic decisions.
Biz2Credit has over 13 years of experience in funding small business opportunities and analyzing the data that defines their growth. That experience paired with insights from The Biz2Credit Weekly Small Business Cash Flow ReportTM power the Small Business Checkup below. Data points captured include more than 7,000,000 cash flow transactions, with tens of thousands more added weekly. Monitoring is conducted for small businesses across all census regions of the US and includes major industries such as retail, food-service, business-to-business and healthcare.
Here is how small businesses are performing in these unprecedented times.
Week of May 4, 2020
The first full week of May brought a retrospective on April. Within April 20.5 million jobs were lost and total unemployment claims showed 33.5 million people are now without work. As of Thursday May 7, 2020, the 14.7% unemployment rate is second only to the Great Depression of 1933.
In response 44 states are scheduled to at least partially reopen by Monday, May 11. Experts, like Mark Zandi of Moody’s analytics, have warned the road to recovery will be significantly longer than earlier, more optimistic claims.
Small business owners and workers, including groceries, restaurants, retailers and farmers, are reassessing their distribution and value chains. They are adopting new delivery methods and creating or enhancing direct-to-consumer sales. Using survey results from our COVID-19 webcasts, recent data shows how we got here.
Small business owners took an optimistic start to the year with 79.49% of respondents feeling either pretty good or very positive about the year to come.
Following the onset of COVID-19 small businesses have borne the weight of strict social distancing orders. 71.34% of small businesses now say they feel “Not So Good” or are “Very Worried” about their business finances.
By the end of April, 46.35% of businesses feared not being able to pay employees. Another 30,02% of businesses were concerned about outstanding businesses debts and accounts payable.
Small businesses now expect to last a few weeks, 36.02%, or a few months, 40.16%, without receiving outside funding.
Week of April 27, 2020
Revenue for US Small Businesses was up slightly from Feb 26 until March 17, versus the Feb 2020 average, as many COVID-19 restrictions had not yet been imposed. Since then we have seen small business revenue fall 27%. Meanwhile public companies received $1 billion of PPP funding.
Rallies to lift social distancing restrictions and reopen states, including their economies, have spread from Michigan to California and New York. Restaurants continue to be hard hit by social distancing practices. They now face looming deadlines to rehire a workforce to match pre-COVID-19 employment levels. As some states reopen, it is clear that restaurants will remain closed or will contend with severely curtailed foot-traffic and diminished need for service workers like hosts, waiters, and bartenders. On April 9, the National Restaurant Association addressed congress to request revisions that would allow greater flexibility for loan forgiveness. Now the Financial Times reports many restaurants will return PPP aid because loan forgiveness requirements do not meet the reality of their situation.
Independent restaurants are one example of a widening divide in revenue growth between essential and non-essential businesses. Revenues for both essential and non-essential businesses are starting to stabilize, however divergence between the two groups has become the new norm.
The four-week moving average of small business revenue shows a 27% decrease since March 17.
Non-essential businesses now diverge by 55 percentage points.
Week of April 13, 2020
The week of April 13, 2020 saw Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans hit the funding ceiling of $350 billion. Small businesses remain stuck on a course set by the COVID-19 crisis and have yet to feel the effects of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act. Small businesses have seen revenue decrease by a third since February 2020. As essential businesses revenue in healthcare and social assistance has outperformed all other categories. Yet, the lowest quartile of this high performing segment is performing nearly 40% below the February average.
Small Business Aggregate Revenue Change
Revenue for US Small Businesses was up slightly between 2/26 and 3/17 vs. Feb 2020, as many COVID restrictions had not been imposed. It has fallen 32% in the subsequent period.
The 4-week moving average shows a systematic fall in the last 3 weeks to April 7th.
Revenue Change by Industry
Small business is seeing varying revenue impact, even within industries. Retail services and food-service are worst hit across the board. For even the less-impacted industries such as Retail Trade, B2B and Healthcare, the lowest quartile of businesses (measured by their pre-crisis financial performance) have seen large revenue declines.
Retail Trade is a highly heterogeneous industry group for small businesses, e.g. grocery stores, clothing stores, electronics stores, convenience stores, garden supply retailers, gasoline stations, online only retailers, etc.
Small Business Support
COVID-19 Small Business Checkup is the product of over thirteen years of small businesses funding and fintech experience. Over 25,000 businesses have trusted Biz2Credit to support them through slow times and growth times. If you own a small business that has been affected by the COVID-19 crisis, access support with these links.
Access informational webcasts on the CAREs Act, PPP and more at Biz2Credit’s Covid-19 Webcast Page.
Gain COVID-19 Support resources at the Biz2Credit Covid-19 Resource Hub.
Explore your options with the Paycheck Protection Program.