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Q2 2020 Small Business Survey reveals dramatic reversal as COVID-19 takes its toll

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. and SAN MATEO, CA, May 4, 2020 — CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, and SurveyMonkey (Nasdaq: SVMK), a leading global survey software company, today announced the results of their quarterly CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey.

The survey found that small business confidence has dropped to an all-time low since the survey began recording the Small Business Index in Q2 2017. The index fell from 61 out of a possible 100 in the first quarter, to 48 this quarter. Fewer than one in five small business owners (18%) say current business conditions are “good,” down from 56% in Q1 2020. Meanwhile, 43% say conditions are “bad,” a number that had previously never been higher than 11%.

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 the power to uncover trends by geographic region and among specific small business cohorts.

Key findings from the Q2 2020 CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey include:

  • Coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact on small businesses:
    • 72% of all small business owners say the coronavirus outbreak is likely to have permanent effects on the way they run their business.
    • 36% of small business owners said they cut their own pay, while about one quarter have either laid off or furloughed employees.
    • More than half (52%) of businesses that have laid off or furloughed employees expect to hire all of them back once things return to “normal.” 37% say they plan to hire “some” employees back, while 9% say the jobs are lost forever.
    • For a few, the crisis has brought opportunity: 7% of small business owners say they’ve pivoted their companies to provide products or services to aid in fighting the outbreak.
  • More than three quarters of small business owners who have 5 or more employees say they’ve applied for Payroll Protection loans from the Small Business Administration.
    • 20 percent of those firms have received funds.
    • Firms with 50 or more employees are more likely than smaller businesses to say they’ve received funds already.
  • President Trump’s approval rating among small business owners drops 12 points:
    • 52% of small business owners approve of the job President Trump is doing, down from 64% in the first quarter.
    • Approval among small business owners who self-identify as Republicans was unchanged at 93%.
    • Disapproval among self-identifying Independents increased to 59% and among self-identifying Democrats to 93%.

“The totality of the quarter-to-quarter change is unlike anything we’ve ever seen, with every marker of confidence plummeting at once,” says Jon Cohen, chief research officer at SurveyMonkey. “Small business owners overwhelmingly see the pandemic as having permanent effects on the way they operate; the buoyant expectations from Q1 have been entirely upended.”

CNBC Small Business Reporter Kate Rogers will reveal the results of the CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey today, Monday, May 4th, throughout CNBC’s Business Day programming. For more information on the survey including the full results and methodology and in-depth articles, go to:


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 2020′s SBCI has decreased to an overall value 48 from 61 in the first quarter.

The CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey was conducted using SurveyMonkey’s online platform from April 21-27, 2020 among a national sample of 2,220 self-identified small business owners ages 18 and up. Respondents for this survey were selected from more than two million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

Data for this quarter have been weighted to be representative of small business owners nationally, according to business characteristics from the Small Business Administration’s 2013 Statistics of U.S. Businesses and owner characteristics from the Census Bureau’s 2012 Survey of Business Owners.

About CNBC:

CNBC is the recognized world leader in business news and provides real-time financial market coverage and business content consumed by more than 320 million people per month across all platforms. The network's 14 live hours a day of business programming in North America (weekdays from 5:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. ET) is produced at CNBC's global headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and includes reports from CNBC News bureaus worldwide. CNBC at night features a mix of new reality programming, CNBC's highly successful series produced exclusively for CNBC and a number of distinctive in-house documentaries.

CNBC also offers content through its vast portfolio of digital products such as:, which provides real-time financial market news and information to CNBC’s investor audience; CNBC Make It, a digital destination focused on making you smarter about how you earn, save and spend your money; CNBC PRO, a premium service that provides in-depth access to Wall Street; a suite of CNBC mobile apps for iOS and Android devices; Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri voice interfaces; and streaming services including Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and Samsung Smart TVs. To learn more, visit

Members of the media can receive more information about CNBC and its programming on the NBCUniversal Media Village Web site at For more information about NBCUniversal, please visit

About SurveyMonkey:

SurveyMonkey is a leading global survey software company on a mission to power the curious. The company’s platform empowers over 17 million active users to measure and understand feedback from employees, customers, website and app users, and the market. SurveyMonkey’s products, enterprise solutions and integrations enable more than 335,000 organizations to solve daily challenges, from delivering better customer experiences to increasing employee retention. With SurveyMonkey, organizations around the world can transform feedback into business intelligence that drives growth and innovation. 

For more information contact:

Jennifer Dauble

Sandra Gharib