California Comment on Today’s Small Business Trends Report

Date: December 08, 2020

Election shows some quick consequences, but state needs to better deal with matters at hand

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 8, 2020—Most salient in today’s release of the nation’s premier measurement of its small-business economy is the decline by 19 points among small-business owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months.

“We have been taking the pulse of Main Street, America, since 1973, and although dips and rises occur throughout the 10 components of our Small Business Economic Trends (SBET) report, ones that spike or fall by a large percentage are the most arresting and worthy of serious public policy discussion,” said John Kabateck, California state director for NFIB, the nation’s leading small-business association.

“Although our monthly SBET polls are a national snapshot, not broken down by state, it takes no degree in economics to know what California must do to reverse course and that is to allow small businesses, which are some of the safest places to work and shop, to re-open. We’ve commended the state for offering loans and grants and extending tax deadlines, but in the end, what good is it if small businesses are prohibited from opening their doors to customers? We’re not claiming to have all the answers, but we think it clear enough that the state and counties could do a better job of containing the spread of COVID-19 by going after places where those spreads occur, which are not most small businesses which have done a great job of socially distancing their patrons and making sure other public health orders are obeyed.”

From NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg on Today’s SBET Numbers

“Small business owners are still facing major uncertainties, including the COVID-19 crisis and the upcoming Georgia runoff election, which is shaping how they’re viewing future business conditions. The recovery will remain uneven as long as we see state and local mandates that target business conditions and disproportionately affect small businesses.”

From the SBET Report’s Analysis

“The economic indicators exhibited massive swings over a period of a few months this year that took years to complete in the Great Recession. This occurred because economic activity was not disrupted by the usual economic forces, but rather by a deadly virus and subsequent government directed shutdown of commerce that was completely unanticipated. When state government policies were relaxed, the economy tried to bounce back to where it was a few months earlier. The unemployment rate swung from under 4 percent in February, to nearly 15 percent in April, and now down to under 7 percent in November. GDP declines of 30 percent and gains of 33 percent a few months later (annual rates) left GDP more than 5 percent below year ago levels, a deficit that double-digit growth in Q4 might eliminate.”

The NFIB Research Foundation has collected Small Business Economic Trends data with quarterly surveys since the 4th quarter of 1973 and monthly surveys since 1986. Survey respondents are drawn from NFIB’s membership. The report is released on the second Tuesday of each month. This survey was conducted in November 2020.

Contact: John Kabateck, California State Director, 916-956-9027, [email protected],
or Tony Malandra, Senior Media Manager, 415-640-5156, [email protected]

Keep up with the latest on California small-business news at or by following NFIB on Twitter @NFIB_CA or on Facebook @NFIB.CA.

For more than 77 years, NFIB has been advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven association. Since its founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses and remains so today. For more information, please visit

921 11th St. Ste. 400
Sacramento, CA 95814
Twitter: @NFIB_CA
Facebook: @NFIB.CA


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