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A rubber gloved hand is shown about to fill out a Small Business Administration aka SBA loan application form, with an N95 respirator dust mask and antibacterial gel nearby.The deadline to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will expire on Saturday with money still available for loans to qualified businesses. Meanwhile, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) says employers still need help.

Last week, the NFIB Research Center released a survey showing 71% of small business owners using their entire PPP loan and 46% of borrowers say they anticipate needing additional financial support in the next six months.

“Current economic conditions are putting significant stress on small business owners struggling to balance lower sales, expenses, and longer-term sustainability,” said Holly Wade, NFIB Director of Research & Policy Analysis. “Even for those owners who have exhausted their PPP loan, the economic conditions have not yet returned to levels that can support business activity for many.”

Key findings from the survey include:

The majority (71%) of small business owners have now used their entire PPP loan.

  • The 29% still using their loan are likely not far behind.

Borrowers are now waiting for lenders to start accepting loan forgiveness applications.

  • The SBA has recently issued processing instructions and just over one-third of small business borrowers plan to use the EZ form. Another 61% are not sure if they will use the EZ form or the long form.

Some small business owners (21%) have or anticipate having to lay off employees after using the PPP loan.

Almost half (46%) of PPP loan borrowers also anticipate needing additional financial support over the next 12 months.

Almost half of small business owners (46%) are nearly back to where they were with some exceeding pre-COVID sales levels.

  • Thirty-two percent report sales levels of 50-74% from last year.
  • Twenty-one percent of small businesses still in operation have sales levels that are less than half of what they were this time last year.

About 23% of small business owners report that they will have to close their doors if the current economic conditions do not improve over the next six months.

  • Another 22% of owners anticipate they will be able to operate no longer than 7-12 months under current economic conditions.
  • Over half (56%) are better situated and do not anticipate any near-term problems.

More small business owners find it difficult to pay their mortgage/rent/lease payments than any other expense category.

  • About 54% of owners rent their business property while another 40% own.
  • Seven percent both rent and own property used for business purposes.
  • About one-third of respondents own investment property and 77% of them collect rent from those properties.
  • Just over one-third (34%) of those who have renters are experiencing more difficulty collecting rent than normal.

Over one-third (35%) of small business owners are “very” or “moderately” concerned about contracting COVID-19 themselves while operating their business.

  • Another 35% are somewhat concerned.
  • Most small business owners (86%) are 100% involved in the daily operations of their business with another 10% of owners more than 75% involved in daily operations.

Most small business owners expect business conditions to improve to normal levels by the end of 2021.

  • Seventeen percent of owners anticipate conditions improving to normal levels by the end of the year with 2% saying conditions are back to normal now.
  • Over half (52%) of owners anticipate it taking until sometime in 2021 and 25% are less optimistic and expect conditions not to fully improve until sometime between 2022-2024.

The full survey is available here.