October 23, 2021

Connecticut businesses struggling amid pandemic

Optimism is waning among small business owners hoping to emerge unscathed from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey conducted by one small business organization in the state.

The National Federation of Independent Business released data this week that show a great level of uncertainty among business owners.

“The most telling part of this survey is the level of uncertainty that our small business owners are feeling right now,” Andrew Markowski, NFIB State Director in Connecticut, said in a news release. “It’s been a year and a half since the pandemic hit and the numbers from our surveys show that as time marches on, our members are not getting any more confident that they can get out of this epidemic unscathed.

“Many have had to close their doors. Many more are saying if this continues, they too will fall victim to a volatile business environment and government mandates.”

Among the key findings in the survey are that owners expecting better business conditions in the next six month have decreased, and 50% have reported they have job openings they cannot fill.

NFIB reported in its monthly jobs report the number of unfilled job openings remains well above the 48-year historical average of 22%, setting a record high for the second consecutive month.

“Small employers are struggling to fill open positions and find qualified workers resulting in record high levels of owners raising compensation,” NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said in a news release. “Owners are raising compensation in an attempt to attract workers and these costs are being passed on to consumers through price hikes for goods and services, creating inflation pressures.”

The organization reported that 55% of small business owners have spent money on new equipment, acquiring vehicles and improved or expanded facilities.

Looking forward, NFIB reported that 30% of small business owners have planned capital outlays in the next few months.

While businesses are purchasing new equipment and working to expand, despite a shrunken workforce, the NFIB reports, no business owners have reported higher than normal sales in the past three months of the pandemic.

Aside from a smaller workforce, NFIB reports that owners are still dealing with supply chain disruptions, with 37% of owners saying it has had a significant impact on their business, and 29% reporting a moderate impact.

In an effort to attract more employees, NFIB said in the release, 41% of small business owners have increased wages to a 48-year record high reading. The organization said an additional 26% of business owners plan to raise wages in the coming months.

This article was originally posted on Connecticut businesses struggling amid pandemic