The Small Business Credit Survey, a collaboration among all 12 Federal Reserve Banks, is an annual survey of small businesses that has been conducted nationally since 2016. The survey questionnaire includes long-running questions on business performance and financing needs. Additionally, the 2021 questionnaire included special topic questions about impacts of the pandemic, access to government-provided financial assistance, and workforce challenges. Since its inception, the SBCS has provided stakeholders from researchers to policymakers valuable data about the challenges business owners face when trying to grow and fund their firms.
The SBCS also collects data about owner and business demographics. The data allow for detailed analysis of business conditions across subcategories such as race and ethnicity of the owner(s), age of the business, and geography. Since 2020, the SBCS has been particularly valuable when analyzing the differential impacts from the pandemic. For example, the 2021 SBCS found that leisure and hospitality firms lag the performance of firms in other industries. Businesses owned by people of color continue to report outsized effects from the pandemic and greater difficulties accessing financing. And the smallest firms in the SBCS sample continue to face a slew of financial challenges.
Through easy-to-use slide decks that provide clear information, Firms in Focus highlights SBCS findings across different demographic groups of small businesses, allowing anyone who’s interested to better understand the full landscape of small businesses.
The SBCS captures the unique challenges that firms across the United States face. This Firms in Focus series is an effort to uncover some of the stories of those firms.