Survey: Michigan’s Small Business Owners Feeling More Confident, but More Relief Likely Needed

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Crain’s Detroit Business
April 21, 2021
Nick Manes

  • Goldman Sachs survey shows businesses overwhelmingly open for business
  • Business owners receiving COVID-19 vaccines
  • Many say more PPP funds needed

Michigan’s small business owners overwhelmingly feel their companies will survive, but general business conditions remain on shaky ground.

That’s according to the results of a new survey done by New York City-based investment banking giant Goldman Sachs as part of its 10,000 Small Business Voices project, an advocacy initiative for small business-friendly policies.

On a national level, 84% of respondents to the survey report that their business is fully open.

In Michigan, 88% of small business owners say they’re confident in their business’ ability to survive the ongoing pandemic.

The latter figure in the Goldman Sachs survey holds nearly identical to the results of a survey done around this time last year by the Small Business Association of Michigan. At the time, when the state was on the downslope of its first major surge in COVID-19 infections and business shutdowns were widespread, about 14% of the state’s small businesses felt they would be unable to survive the upheaval.

The Goldman survey found that three-quarters of Michigan small business owners have been given the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccination and 63% have taken advantage of that opportunity.

“Across America, it’s back to business on Main Streets as operating restrictions are eased and customers are becoming increasingly comfortable visiting their favorite local businesses,” Jessica Johnson-Cope, chair of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices National Leadership Council and owner of Johnson Security Bureau in New York, said in a news release announcing the survey results.

“Even as optimism increases, the stark reality is that COVID-19 has forever changed the landscape for small businesses — in ways big and small. After a year with significant challenges, a full recovery for small businesses is not yet in sight and the reality is the majority of small business owners surveyed expect to need additional aid to maintain payroll through the summer.”

To that end, small business owners credit the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that offers forgivable loans for payroll and other costs of doing business with contributing to the relatively solid ground on which many feel they stand.

But 84% of Michigan’s small business owners report that they will have exhausted their second PPP loans by the end of June, according to the Goldman Sachs survey. That compares to 77% nationally.

Just one-quarter of Michigan’s small business owners are “are very confident that they’ll be able to maintain their current payroll without additional relief,” according to the survey.

The PPP program, enacted last year as the pandemic took hold as a relief mechanism for the nation’s small businesses, saw as of April 18 nearly 10 million PPP loans had been approved totaling more than $762 billion, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, which administers the program alongside the U.S. Department of Treasury.

About 119,000 Michigan businesses have received a total of nearly $7.3 billion in loans, according to the SBA data.

As of April 5, there was about $68 billion left in the allotted pool for PPP loans, according to a CNBC report. Applications are due by May 31.

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