NFIB Survey Ranks Small Business Problems
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NFIB Survey Ranks Small Business Problems

NFIB Survey Ranks Small Business Problems

The cost of health insurance, labor, and taxes remain at the top of the latest 2020 NFIB Problems and Priorities Survey. The data reflects small business owners’ views four years into one of the largest U.S. economic expansions. This year’s data was collected just prior to the Covid-19 health and economic crisis.

“Although the government shutdowns and coronavirus pandemic have fundamentally shaken the small business economy, we know that even during historic small business expansions, owners consistently face many of the same problems,” said NFIB President Brad Close. “As small business goes, so goes the economy. While small businesses were setting records for growth, job creation, and optimism, healthcare costs, and government regulations were constant pain points.”

Every four years, the Problems and Priorities Survey asks small business owners to evaluate 75 issues on a scale of 1 (a critical problem) to 7 (not a problem). The issues are then ranked from top to bottom by their average score.

At the top spot, the “cost of health insurance” remains the number one problem for small businesses, unchanged since 1986. Fifty-one percent of owners report that the “cost of health insurance” as a critical problem, down one point from the 2016 report. 

“Locating qualified employees” moved up in importance from ranking 10th in 2016 to its current second place ranking. This is largely due to the historically low unemployment rate the last two years, pre-Covid, and businesses struggled to fill positions. The percent of owners finding it a critical problem increased from 24% in 2016 to 31% in 2020.

Tax-related issues continue to be a significant problem for small business owners, however, the percent finding them “critical” issues has declined since 2016, certainly due to the passage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

The full survey is available here.

Published: August 25th, 2020

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