Goldman Sachs Survey of Small Business Owners Highlights Hurdles on the Road to Recovery

While 71 percent of small businesses are hiring, 81 percent of those businesses report difficulty recruiting qualified candidates as operating costs continue to rise

A new national survey of small business owners from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices shows that small businesses across America are open for business but hitting roadblocks at every turn. While small business owners express optimism about the future, they face difficulties hiring employees and maintaining payroll as operating costs increase. Long-term access to capital and inflation are also pressing concerns for Main Street businesses.

The new survey found that of the 71 percent of small businesses currently hiring, 81 percent are finding it difficult to recruit qualified candidates, citing a limited labor supply, generous unemployment benefits, and high labor costs. At the same time, 83 percent of small business owners report an increase in operating costs in the past few months and 82 percent are concerned about the impact of inflation on their businesses. As a result, almost half of small businesses (48 percent) have had to increase their prices.

Other key insights from the June survey include:

  • While many small business owners (44 percent) are still struggling financially due to the impact of COVID-19, the majority of those surveyed (67 percent) now believe that the United States is moving in the right direction.
  • Small business owners generally support President Biden’s infrastructure proposal, with 61 percent in support of the American Jobs Plan and 60 percent in support of the American Families Plan, but less than 50 percent believe it will help their business.
  • 82 percent of small business owners who received a second PPP loan expect to exhaust their PPP loan funding by the end of July and only 24 percent are very confident they will be able to maintain payroll if no further government relief is provided. Almost all small business owners (93 percent) support Congress re-evaluating the SBA loan terms so that hard-hit small businesses can access capital.
  • Finally, small business owners overwhelmingly support (88 percent) increasing opportunities for small businesses through the federal procurement process. Almost all respondents (93 percent) call on state and local governments to prioritize contracts for small businesses as part of the proposed package.

"Small businesses are the engine of the economy and need continued support from our policymakers to make a full recovery," said Jill Bommarito, Founder & CEO of Ethel’s Baking Company and member of the 10,000 Small Businesses Voices National Leadership Council. "Today's survey shows that Washington must act now to address hurdles on the road to recovery, including rising operating costs, access to capital, and labor shortages."

For the full survey, please visit

The survey of 857 Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses participants was conducted by Babson College and David Binder Research from June 1-2. The survey included small business owners from 46 U.S. states and two U.S. territories, 53% of whom were women.


Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices is an initiative for program participants to organize and advocate for policies that matter to them. It builds on Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, which over the past decade has provided access to education, capital, and support services to more than 10,000 small business owners across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C.


Patrick Scanlan

Goldman Sachs & Co.


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