Survey: 93% of Small Business Owners Fear Coming Recession

Goldman Sachs today released new data ahead of the 10,000 Small Businesses Summit in Washington, D.C. that shows 93 percent of small business owners are worried about a recession in the coming year.
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According to the Summit Survey from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices, many business owners fear a recession as they continue to face inflation, workforce issues, and more. // Stock Photo

Goldman Sachs today released new data ahead of the 10,000 Small Businesses Summit in Washington, D.C. that shows 93 percent of small business owners are worried about a recession in the coming year.

The Summit Survey also shows that 89 percent report broader economic trends — including inflation, supply chain issues, and workforce challenges — are still taking a toll. Despite these numbers, 65 percent of owners remain optimistic about the future.

“Entrepreneurs everywhere are facing a bumpy economic road ahead even as they have overcome the obstacles of the last few years,” says David Solomon, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs. “So, it’s important that we bring together leaders from the private and public sector who can work together to support the source of economic vitality in America: our small businesses.”

The summit, to be conducted from July 18-20, will include 102 small business owners from Michigan.

The survey found that hiring and retaining workers remains the most significant problem facing small businesses, with 84 percent saying that hiring challenges have gotten worse or stayed the same over the past three months.

Of those who have had difficulty hiring, 97 percent report that it has affected their bottom line. Of small business owners hiring, 55 percent say that, on average, it takes more than two months to fill an open position with a qualified employee. When asked the top reasons for hiring challenges, 78 percent cited competition with larger employers on pay and benefits.

Record inflation and ongoing supply chain challenges continue to have an outsized impact on small businesses as well. Almost all — 97 percent — small business owners say that inflationary pressures on their business have increased or stayed the same compared to three months ago.

As a result, 65 percent have had to increase the prices of their goods or services to offset the impact of broader economic trends. These price increases have caused 38 percent of those surveyed to see a decline in customer demand. Gas prices are negatively impacting 80 percent of those surveyed, with 78 percent reporting that supply chain issues have gotten worse or stayed the same compared to three months ago.

As thousands of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses alumni head to Washington, D.C. next week for the 2022 Summit, the survey finds there is overwhelming support for lawmakers to take further action on the challenges small business owners face, including reauthorizing the Small Business Administration for the first time in two decades.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and the lifeblood of our economy,” says Joe Wall, national director of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices. “They’re not looking for a handout; they just want a hand up.

“Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Summit will be a historic opportunity for America’s small businesses to raise their concerns at the highest levels of our government. We’re looking forward to hosting this historic event and doing what we can to continue to continue lifting up the small businesses that drive our economy forward.”

This data is based on a survey of 1,533 Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses participants conducted by Babson College and David Binder Research from June 20-23. The survey included small business owners from 48 U.S. states and two U.S. territories.

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