Small business owners’ optimism rebounded in late May and early June, according to the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index survey. Sixty-seven percent were more optimistic than pessimistic, up from 47% in early April but still down from 80% in January.
The survey found that 16% of small businesses were closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, while half said their business was operating with reduced staff or with major changes to their services. A third said their businesses were operating as normal. Of the 16% whose firms were closed, 2% were closed permanently and 14% were closed until restrictions were lifted.
While nearly half of business owners reported reductions in pay for themselves and their employees, just a quarter said they had needed to lay people off. Four in 10 owners reported unplanned expenses to address operational needs related to COVID-19.
The survey also examined the experiences of racial and ethnic minority small business owners, who were more likely to be optimistic despite being more likely to experience COVID-19-related business disruptions than white owners. Half of the minority business owners surveyed had applied for or would apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan, compared with 31% of white business owners.