Small Business Sentiment Dips As Biden Vaccine Mandate Hangs in Limbo

Press ReleaseJanuary 13, 2022

Washington, D.C. (January 13, 2022)—Today, the Job Creators Network Foundation (JCNF) released its December Monthly Monitor poll of 500 small business owners. The poll’s Small Business Intelligence Quotient (SBIQ), an index tracking overall small business optimism, dipped 1.5-points to 55 in December after rising during the previous month. Small business owners are feeling less optimistic now that some COVID restrictions are coming back and we are seeing variant cases rising among Americans who are vaccinated. Inflation is also a big issue weighing on their minds.

The December SBIQ reading marked the second lowest small business sentiment level since the survey began in May 2021.

If implemented, the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for employees at companies with 100 or more workers could exacerbate the situation. Labor shortages are already plaguing Main Street and imposing a “vaccine or weekly testing requirement” will force some workers to quit and make it even more challenging to hire new ones. Only 18 percent of respondents believe an employer-enforced vaccine mandate will help small businesses; 46 percent of small businesses believe some of their employees will quit as a result. The U.S. Supreme Court considered the legality of the mandate last week and will announce a decision soon.

Other key takeaways include:

  •  Small businesses are still hurting from COVID. Among those who have suffered, 18 percent say they may never recover. This is even more pronounced among female and minority owned businesses where 33 percent and 38 percent say they may never recover, respectively.
  • Inflation is still the biggest issue on the minds of small business owners with 37 percent saying it’s their biggest or second biggest concern. 70 percent of small businesses say the Biden administration isn’t doing enough to fight inflation and 64 percent of them think the Build Back Better plan would increase inflation.
  • Forty-seven percent of small business owners think the US economy is going in a worse direction compared to only 32 percent who say it’s going in a better direction.

View more polling details and crosstabs hereView historical data here.

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

“Small businesses are facing an obstacle course of challenges as we begin the New Year. Persistent labor shortages are making it extremely difficult to operate and high inflation is eating into their budgets. And another barrier looms if the Supreme Court fails to act in a challenge brought by the Job Creators Network and other groups. OSHA’s rule that will deputize small businesses as the vaccine police is currently being considered by the high court. If left to take effect, entrepreneurs will face significant compliance costs and an exodus of workers. Small businesses are awaiting a decision with bated breath.”