Press ReleaseJuly 29, 2021

New Poll: Small Business Optimism Rises, But Future Expectations Begin to Level Out

Washington, D.C. (July 29, 2021)—Today, the Job Creators Network Foundation (JCNF) released the data from its July Monthly Monitor poll of 500 small business owners. The poll’s Small Business Intelligence Quotient (SPIQ), an index tracking overall small business optimism, ticked up from 60.9 in June to 63.5 in July (+2.6). The main factor driving the jump flip-flopped compared to June. Assessments of “current conditions” rose by 4.8 points while “future expectations” experienced a marginal gain.

Meanwhile, small business owners continued to be most concerned about inflation, operating costs, and customer spending. Potential public policy changes down the road also sparked unease. Fifty-four percent of respondents believe that tax hikes proposed by the Biden administration will hurt small businesses. The topline findings include:

  • From June through July, the overall SBIQ (Small Business Intelligence Quotient) index rose from 60.9 to 63.5. However—the primary drivers of the increase were positive answers about current economic conditions. When asked if their financial condition in the next three months would be better, the number dropped 4-points compared to May.
  • Rising costs are a big concern for small business owners. More than 36 percent of small businesses named inflation as their biggest or second biggest concern right now (a jump of 4-points). While a related issue—operating costs—was named by 25 percent as their biggest or second biggest concern right now.
  • 54 percent of small business owners think that the proposed tax increases from the Biden administration will hurt small businesses.
  • Only 10 percent of small businesses say they’ve already recovered from the economic effects of the pandemic—only a 1 percent increase from last month. 44 percent said it’s going to take longer than 6 months to fully recover.
  • Like most Americans, small business owners are not in favor of doubling the size of the IRS, with 60 percent opposed.

View more polling details and crosstabs here.

Elaine Parker, President of the Job Creators Network Foundation, released the following statement:

The small businesses that did survive the pandemic continue to feel pretty good. Businesses are experiencing strong sales as consumers return to pre-pandemic behavior. However, inflation triggered by unprecedented spending in Washington and the threat of future lockdowns are making small businesses nervous about the next few months. The Biden administration and other leaders should take these fears into account and carefully consider their next moves.