A new study by researchers at Harvard University and the Becker Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago summarized results of a survey of almost 6000 small businesses – many with less than five employees. 43 percent of the businesses were temporarily closed and 40 percent of the workforce, on average were furloughed or laid off since January.
Many businesses had less than one month in cash reserves to weather the storm.
53 percent of respondents across all industries indicated that they would need to close if current restrictions lasted over four months and if normal operations resumed in one month 72 percent could still survive. There was also considerable diversity in expectations that they could survive after four months of current restrictions of economic activity.
While many expressed support for government aid such as SBA’s PPP forgivable loan, around 30 percent did not want to apply for various reasons from having enough cash to not trusting the government to forgive the loan or too much hassle to get the economic relief.
Similar results were reported by a Survey of 4000 businesses by the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank.
“A little more than half (54 percent) had some level of optimism that emergency aid would help their particular business, and optimism was stronger (63 percent) that aid would help businesses in general. District states also exhibited modest differences in sentiment; for example, optimism in the Dakotas and Montana was about 10 percentage points higher than among Minnesota and U.P. respondents.“