A new survey conducted by the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) in Lansing showed that while wages and staffing levels have started to rise, increasing costs and labor challenges are the top threats small businesses are facing today.
The survey, conducted a week after President Biden announced a federal vaccine mandate for employers with more than 100 employees (with the stipulation of providing weekly negative tests), revealed the policy is largely unpopular among small business owners, with 58 percent opposed, 29 percent in favor, and 13 percent expressing no opinion.
In turn, several lawsuits have been filed challenging the mandate.
“It’s not surprising that most business owners oppose the vaccine mandate, especially given the worker shortage,” says Brian Calley, president of the SBAM. “This federal overreach threatens to make a difficult staffing situation even worse.”
The survey, conducted from Sept. 10-17, polled more than 680 small businesses. The findings include:
- More than three quarters — 77 percent — reported that COVID-19 had a negative impact on their business in 2020, with 67 percent reporting that they are still feeling the effects.
- Of those surveyed, 79 percent reported higher cost increases than before the pandemic.
- Staffing remains a prescient issue, with 64 percent saying it has become significantly harder to keep their business fully staffed.
- In the face of said staffing issues, 19 percent of businesses increased their workforce size since Jan. 2020. Almost half — 47 percent — expect to grow employment levels over the next year.
- To attract and maintain employees, 62 percent of those surveyed reported increasing wages in any capacity since the start of 2020. Additionally, 24 percent reported increasing wages by more than 10 percent.
- Revenue took a hit, with 55 percent of businesses reporting reduced revenues in 202 compared to 2019. Of those businesses, 25 percent reported a decline of more than 25 percent.
- Despite these hardships faced by the small business community, 83 percent of those surveyed expect revenues to stabilize or increase during 2021, although 16 percent are pessimistic about the long-term survival of their business.
“The pandemic has been difficult for small businesses, but it’s clear that entrepreneurs are adapting and taking action to position their businesses for success,” says Calley.