PPP Loans Largely Effective for Missouri Small Businesses, Many Still Need More Financial Assistance

Date: July 16, 2020

About 22% of Missouri PPP loan borrowers anticipate having to lay off one or more employee after using their loan

 

The NFIB Research Center released a survey today updating the state of small business and financial assistance programs including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL).

“The latest numbers in NFIB’s member survey prove the great financial impact that the Paycheck Protection Program has meant for our small businesses owners here in Missouri, said Brad Jones, NFIB Missouri State Director. “However, those numbers also show that for many of our members, it won’t be enough. Nearly half will need more financial assistance in the next year. Nearly one quarter will have to lay off at least one of their employees after their PP runs out, and about 4% won’t be able to survive the next few months. We need to do more for the hard-working small business owners here in Missouri who are trying to stay open and keep Missouri’s economy going.”

In St. Louis, Stephanie Turner of Brentwood Travel is desperately trying to keep her 63-year-old travel agency afloat. She’s still in shock with how dire the situation has become in just the last four months. In March, Stephanie and her daughter, the third-generation small business owner, were on track for their best year yet. Today, she has just 6 employees working in her St. Louis office, down from 25 employees and 15 independent contractors.

“The intention behind the PPP was good. It’s kept my business afloat and allowed me to bring back all my employees and pay them for 4 weeks. However, the flexibility portion of the program came too late. I didn’t actually need my employees back at work for those 4 weeks before the flexibility kicked in. There were no sales happening at that point for this year and only a few for next year. No one is traveling. No one is booking vacations. What I really need is the ability to use the money when I really need it later this year. My PPP ends in October and then what do I do? How am I going to keep the lights on?” said Turner.  Most people won’t really go back to traveling until probably 2nd or 3rd quarter of next year – maybe even later.

 

Three generations of small business owners. 100 year-old Ruth Lurie, bottom left, founded Brentwood Travel. Second generation owner Stephanie Turner, bottom right, and third generation owner Stacey Acree, top right celebrate their 60th anniversary in business.

 

The travel industry has been one of the hardest hit industries. Turner said she has a few bookings for the beginning of 2021 and quite a few others for 3rd and 4th quarter but doesn’t expect any of her regular clients to start traveling again until there is a vaccine, and no one is sure when that might be.

Meanwhile, Turner’s employees are on unemployment, and some are making more staying at home then they would if they were working. Turner worries that if Congress extends the $600 federal unemployment weekly benefit, some of them won’t come back to work – even if the industry is back up and running.

“A lot of my staff is in their 20’s – young and enthusiastic and so excited to work in the travel industry! Now, they’re getting paid more to sit at home and do nothing. Will they keep that enthusiasm and want to come back and work in an industry that isn’t traveling right now? One of my best employees is considering another career. It breaks my heart to see my employees struggling.”  Turner appreciates that the government is trying to help, but really wants to see the money used more efficiently.  She hopes Congress listens small business owners in the travel industry and others that are still being heavily impacted and gets suggestions from them on what might work better to help them survive.

 

Stephanie Turner and daughter Stacey Acree celebrate at the Top Women in Business awards.

 

Key findings from the survey include:

Eighty percent of NFIB members have reported applying for a PPP loan.

  • Over half (56%) of PPP borrowers have spent all their loan funds with the remaining 44% likely not far behind.

The 24-week extension for the PPP loan forgiveness period is widely popular among small businesses, with 59% of borrowers opting for the added time to use their loan.

  • Thirty-eight percent kept their original 8-week forgiveness period.

Applying for loan forgiveness is the last step in the PPP process for many, just over half (55%) of borrowers have not yet submitted their application for loan forgiveness.

  • Thirty-eight percent of borrowers are on hold to apply as their lender has told them they are not accepting applications yet. Lenders are still waiting for instructions from the SBA on how to process forgiveness applications.
  • Regarding the two forgiveness application forms, 62% of borrowers do not know yet if they will be able to take advantage of a simplified form or if they will have to fill out the longer application form.

The PPP has largely fulfilled the goal of supporting payroll to keep employees connected with their jobs. However, for many small businesses, current economic conditions will force some to adjust their employment levels after they’ve spent their loan.

  • About 22% of PPP loan borrowers have or anticipate having to lay off one more employee after using their loan (up from 14% in mid-June).

Just over one-third (34%) of small businesses have applied for an EIDL loan, generally unchanged since mid-April.

  • About 67% have been approved for an EIDL loan and 7% denied, with 26% still waiting to hear one way or another.
  • Just over half (55%) of applicants report their EIDL loan has been deposited.

Of the small businesses that have applied for a PPP loan, an EIDL, or both, 46% anticipate needing additional financial support in some form over the next 12 months.

  • Forty-seven percent of small businesses have been impacted by new changes in re-opening policies, adding to the volatile economic conditions from the pandemic.

Economic conditions are still challenging for most but less so than a month ago with about 45% of respondents reporting their current sales volume is 75% or more of pre-crisis levels (up from 28% from May).

  • Eight percent reported their current sales volumes as 1 – 25% of pre-crisis levels, 18% report sales between 26 – 50% of pre-crisis sales levels and 27% between 51- 75% of pre-crisis levels.

Some states and many cities require face coverings before entering business establishments. About 53% of small business owners require employees and/or customers to wear a face covering.

  • Forty-six percent of owners find it difficult to enforce the practice of wearing a face covering.

The biggest challenge for small business owners is being able to stock up on hand sanitizer for their business with 23% of owners reporting that it is very difficult to stock up on the product.

  • Another 36% report finding it moderately difficult to stock up on the product.
  • One-in-ten small business owners find it very difficult to stock up on face coverings and another 30% find it moderately difficult.

Getting customers back into businesses is proving to be difficult for 11% of owners with another 29% saying that it’s moderately difficult.

  • Many owners are also finding it difficult to manage employees’ and customers’ health and safety concerns with 37% finding the former and 32% finding the latter very or moderately difficult to manage.

Economic conditions are dire for about 4% of owners who say they will only be able to survive for no more than one to two months.

  • Another 19% report being able to operate for 3-6 months. About one-in-five anticipate being able to operate for 7-12 months in the current environment and 57% are less financially stressed and are able to operate for more than 12 months.

The full survey is available here.

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