Pandemic Still Hurting Small Businesses Across the U.S.

Small businesses are still hurting from COVID-19-related interruptions and, according to one online networking platform, 37% were unable to pay their June rents in full and on time. Inflation, hiring, and sustainable revenues are still key concerns for companies attempting to recover from the pandemic.

The small business networking platform Alignable said in a report that minority-owned businesses were among the hardest hurt of small businesses in the United States during June. Of the minority businesses, 53% couldn’t afford their month’s rent, compared with 45% in May, according to the poll, which was conducted May 22 to June 15 of 3,814 small businesses.

Many categories of businesses couldn’t pay their full June rent in full, the poll said, including entertainers/creatives (47%), travel/lodging (44%), transportation (43%), nonprofits (42%), and beauty salons/barber shops (40%).

About 39% of restaurants and 35% of retailers (versus 31% in April) fell behind on rent, too.

In certain states, the poll found, there were an increased number of small businesses unable to pay rent. These include New York, Virginia, Arizona and North Carolina, among others.

Several states, though, showed improvement in ability to pay rent, including in Michigan, Ohio and Colorado.

Inflation is a key concern, Alignable said, with 67% of those surveyed expecting the price increases of goods such as gas to impact recovery. Hiring is also a problem, and 55% of small businesses said they can’t fill positions, an increase of 5% from last month’s poll.

“It’s no surprise to see that the majority of small business owners in other key industries also support withholding the extra unemployment benefit, in hopes of filling open roles at their companies sooner rather than later,” the report said.

About 57% of retail small businesses approve of withholding the extra $300 unemployment benefit to help improve labor shortages, compared with 71% of restaurants.

Alignable, which has 6.5 million members in North America, also found that 57% of small business owners have half or less of the monthly revenue they had before COVID hit the US in early 2020—and they’re still having trouble bringing customers back.

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