Study Brings out Five Worries with California's Economy

Date: August 18, 2020

2021 session of Legislature should make a post-COVID rebound its priority

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 18, 2020—A study released late last week by the nation’s leading small-business association revealed five issues in particular that were more problematic for Main Street entrepreneurs in California to deal with than they were for their counterparts across the nation.

Every four years since 1982, NFIB has published its Small Business Problems & Priorities report listing 75 concerns small-business owners have with their abilities to keep their doors open and people employed. For only the second time, California was segmented out from the national readings (New York, Texas, and Ohio were the only other states), and while some issues ranked parallel to, or didn’t vary widely from, the national readings (cost of health care, federal taxes, property taxes, to name a few), five issues did show a double-digit disparity between how small-business owners across the nation ranked them as problems in comparison to California’s Main Street entrepreneurs.

  • Environmental regulations ranked 38th nationally, 15th in California for a 23-placement difference.
  • Cost of government required equipment/procedures came in 39th nationally, 19th in California for 20-placement difference
  • Hiring/firing/employment regulations ranked 43rd nationally, 23rd in California for another 20-placement difference
  • Obtaining licenses, permits, etc. came in 45th nationally and 29th in California for 16-rank difference
  • Minimum wage/living wage ranked 34th nationally, 20th in California for a 14-placement difference.

“There were some issues that were of less concern to California small-business owners than they were to others across the nation,” said John Kabateck, California state director for NFIB, “but for five of the 75 issues, there was an alarming variance it would behoove state policymakers to give serious consideration to ameliorating. With only a few weeks left in the 2020 session, it’s probably too late now, but that leaves four whole months to start laying the groundwork for some 2021 action. In the meantime, voters can do their part by electing more pro-small-business candidates to office.”

The 2020 edition of the Small Business Problems & Priorities report also divided the 75 issues, nationally, by:

  • Number of employees (Page 39)
  • Industry (Page 48)
  • Population density (Page 68)
  • Years of ownership (Page 71)
  • Gender (Page 74)
  • Legal form of business, such as partnership, sub-chapter S, LLC, etc. (Page 78)

The California-specific rankings begin on Page 82.

Click here to read NFIB’s national news release on the Small Business Problems & Priorities report.

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

Contact: John Kabateck, California State Director, [email protected],
or Tony Malandra, Senior Media Manager, [email protected]


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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