Who’s seeking work when they’re paid more to stay home?

Alignable’s May State of Small Business Report has just been released. It’s primarily based on a poll of 7,751 small business owners conducted from 4-24-21 to 5-9-21, but also features insights gathered over the past year from 625,000 SMBs. Key findings include:  

  • COVID is still really impacting 38% of small businesses, but 24% say the effects are declining
  • Early optimism is evident in a hiring spree led by restaurants & retailers expecting a major summer sales surge. In fact, hiring has reached a new high, as 88% of pre-COVID employees are back on the payroll
  • While that’s promising, the overall employment picture is much more volatile — 50% of small business employers can’t fill vacancies
  • The majority (54%) say it’s because government handouts are preventing workers from applying (30% believe the controversial $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit is keeping people home, while 24% blame stimulus checks)
  • However, when employers do find people to hire, 51% say they have to pay higher wages than they paid prior to COVID
  • And while some small businesses are starting to bounce back, they’re confronted by other inflationary trends. In fact, 67% of all SMBs fear that inflation will hurt their recoveryAnd those figures are even more dramatic among industries facing major supply delays, shortages and skyrocketing prices (especially for wood and metal)