On April 11, 2017, the 12 Federal Reserve Banks issued the 2016 Small Business Credit Survey: Report on Employer Firms, which examines the results of an annual survey of business conditions and the credit environment faced by small business owners who have full- or part-time employees. This was the first time the survey was conducted on a national scale, gathering responses from firms across all 50 states and the District of Columbia through the joint efforts of the Federal Reserve Banks of New York, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Richmond, San Francisco, and St. Louis.
Results from the 2016 survey showed that while many small businesses with employees were profitable and optimistic in 2016, a significant majority faced financial challenges, experienced funding gaps and relied on personal finances. These issues were even more pronounced for the smallest firms, which were less likely to receive necessary funding and more likely to rely on personal finances to operate. These findings highlight small businesses’ obstacles to growth and raise new questions about how to overcome them.
Additional reports on the 2016 Small Business Credit Survey will be released throughout 2017. These will take an in-depth look into specific types of small businesses, including start-ups, minority firms and microbusinesses.
About the Small Business Credit Survey (Survey)
The Survey collects information about business performance, financing needs and choices, and borrowing experiences of firms with 500 or fewer employees. Responses to the Survey provide insight into the dynamics behind aggregate lending trends and about noteworthy segments of small businesses. The results are weighted to reflect the full population of small businesses. The Survey is not a random sample; therefore, results should be analyzed with awareness of potential methodological biases.
The Survey was launched in 2014 through an effort that merged the regional surveys conducted by several Federal Reserve Banks. The 2016 Survey is the first national small business survey with involvement from all 12 Federal Reserve Banks and input from all 50 states. The 2016 Survey collected 15,991 responses in total, 10,303 of which were from employer firms.