Q2 2021 Small Business Confidence Index increased slightly to 45 out of 100, up from 43 last quarter which was the lowest level of the index since CNBC and SurveyMonkey began tracking confidence in 2017  

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. and SAN MATEO, CA, May 3, 2021 — CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, and SurveyMonkey (Nasdaq: SVMK), a leader in agile software solutions for customer experience, market research, and survey feedback, today announced the results of their quarterly CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey. 

The survey found that 51% of small business owners support President Joe Biden’s infrastructure proposal, the American Jobs Plan. That includes 23% of Republican small business owners and 55% of independent small business owners. However, the survey found far less support for raising the corporate tax rate to pay for the $2.7 trillion plan. Just 39% of small business owners overall, including 13% of Republican small business owners, say they approve of raising the corporate tax rate to pay for the American Jobs Plan.

The second quarter survey found a slight increase in overall small business confidence. The Small Business Confidence Index rose two points from the record-low of 43 out of 100 in Q1, to 45 in Q2. The index ticked higher in part due to a slight increase in the number of small business owners who describe overall business conditions as “good.” However, the index remains below 50 for the third straight quarter because of widespread belief among Republican small business owners, who make up the majority of respondents, that potential changes in tax, regulatory and immigration policy will have a negative impact on their businesses over the next 12 months.

Overall, 34% of small business owners say business conditions are “good,” up from 29% in the first quarter. Hiring expectations also rebounded; 25% of small business owners expect their headcount to increase over the next year, a 6-point increase from last quarter.

“Whether they are trying to eke back to an old normal or using the COVID-19 pandemic to pivot their businesses, small business owners are starting to brighten their outlook,” said Jon Cohen, Chief Research Officer at SurveyMonkey. “Hiring expectations are picking up, and the number of small business owners who say they have open roles right now is up significantly from pre-pandemic, which means we might start to see even more glimpses of normalcy in the months ahead.”

Each quarter, CNBC and SurveyMonkey poll over 2,000 small business owners aiming to measure the vitality of the American economy as well as the view from Main Street on jobs, taxes and other hot topics. In addition to measuring small business confidence nationwide, the large sample size gives CNBC and SurveyMonkey the power to uncover trends by geographic region and among specific small business cohorts. 

Additional key findings from the Q2 2021 CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey include: 

Help wanted: 24% of small business owners have open positions that have gone unfilled for at least 3 months

  • 67% of small business owners with 50 or more employees have unfilled positions. 
  • 34% of accommodation/food services and 32% of retail small businesses have unfilled positions.

Worries about rising raw materials cost outpace concerns about rising wages

  • 48% of small business owners say the cost of raw materials will increase the most (compared to cost of labor and cost of capital) over the next 6 months.
  • 30% say the cost of labor will increase the most.
  • 79% of small business owners in mining and construction say the cost of raw materials will increase the most.

Immigration worries weigh on small business owners:

  • 41% of small business owners (including 62% of Republican small business owners) expect changes in immigration policy over the next 12 months to have a negative impact on their businesses, up from 36% in Q1, and up from 17% a year ago.
  • 17% of small business owners say immigration is the issue that matters most to them right now, up from 5% who said that in Q1.

CNBC Small Business Reporter Kate Rogers will reveal the results of the CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey today, Monday, May 3, throughout CNBC’s Business Day programming. For more information on the survey including the full results and methodology and in-depth articles, go to: https://www.surveymonkey.com/curiosity/cnbc-small-business-q2-2021/.


SurveyMonkey created a unique Small Business Confidence Index (SBCI), which is a 100-point score based on responses to eight key questions. The index is calculated on a scale from 0–100 and is based on the responses to eight key questions. A zero indicates no confidence, and a score of 100 indicates perfect confidence. The second quarter of 2021′s SBCI has increased to an overall value of 45 from 43 in the first quarter this year.

This CNBC/SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted April 19-26, 2021 among a national sample of 2,201 self-identified small business owners ages 18 and up. This quarter, we also reached 9,225 individuals who do not own small businesses. Respondents for this survey were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for the results among small business owners and 1.5 percentage points for results among those who do not own small businesses.

Data for small business statistics have been weighted according to business characteristics (industry and number of employees) according to the Small Business Administration’s 2013 Statistics of U.S. Businesses. Additionally, person-level data (age, gender, level of education, race, geography) for business owners have been weighted to the Census Bureau’s 2012 Survey of Business Owners.

For more information contact:

Jennifer Dauble

Stephanie Hirlemann

About CNBC:

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About SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey is a leader in agile software solutions for customer experiencemarket research, and survey feedback. The company’s platform empowers over 20 million active users to analyze and act on feedback from employees, customers, website and app users, and market research respondents. SurveyMonkey’s products, enterprise solutions, and integrations enable more than 345,000 organizations to deliver better customer experiences, increase employee retention​ and unlock growth and innovation. Ultimately, SurveyMonkey's vision is to raise the bar for human experiences by amplifying individual voices.