Small Business Pulse Survey: Challenges Persist with Supply Chains and Hiring

By at 31 December, 2021, 12:18 pm

by Raymond J. Keating –

U.S. small businesses continue to be confronted by challenges in this pandemic economy, including when it comes to hiring and supply chain issues, according to the latest Small Business Pulse survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The survey asked (with data collected from December 20-26, 2021) about difficulties in hiring new employees. As noted in the following chart, in terms of those for which the question was applicable, the answers were evenly split between those having difficulties (30.4 percent) and those small businesses that did not (30.0 percent).

Source: Small Business Pulse Survey, U.S. Census Bureau

As for supply chain issues, we have seen little improvement in matters since the summer. In fact, things seem to be marginally worse.

In this latest survey of small business owners, 44.2 percent said that they faced domestic supplier delays. (See the following chart.) That compared to 45.7 percent in early October and 38.2 percent in early July.

Source: Small Business Pulse Survey, U.S. Census Bureau

What about difficulties in locating alternate domestic suppliers?

In the latest survey, 21.9 percent faced such challenges, and that compared to 23.0 percent in early October and 18.5 percent in early July.

Similarly, in this latest survey, 18.5 percent were confronted by foreign supplier delays, which compared to 19.6 percent in early October and 15.6 percent in early July.

And as for delays in deliveries to customers, 24.9 percent cited such problems in the latest survey, versus 25.9 percent in early October and 22.3 percent in early July.

As SBE Council has noted before, part of this problem no doubt has to do with the number of small businesses that closed their doors due to the pandemic and its fallout. Looking ahead, entrepreneurs, businesses and their employees will continue to work to solve these problems – and will solve them – as long as government doesn’t get in the way with policies that increase uncertainties, raise costs, and discourage entrepreneurship, investment and innovation.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.


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