Small Business Survey Points to Increasing Supply-Chain Challenges

By at 16 October, 2021, 9:15 am

by Raymond J. Keating –

The latest edition of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Business Pulse Survey shows rising supply-chain challenges for small businesses.

Consider, for example, that the percent of small business owners in the latest survey (collected over October 4-10) facing delays/difficulties with domestic suppliers registered 45.7 percent. Three months earlier, that stood at 38.2 percent. (See the following two charts from the survey.)

Also, 19.6 percent cited delays/difficulties with foreign suppliers in the latest survey compared to 15.6 percent three months earlier.

For good measure, another report pointed to increases in transportation/shipping costs continuing into the fourth quarter of this year, namely, with less-than-truckload carriers, truckload shipping and parcel shipping. Looking a bit further out, debate rages as to how long and severe supply chain issues will be, with Moody’s pointing to more problems while JP Morgan’s Jamie Diamond, noting, correctly I believe, “I think great market systems will adjust for it like companies have.”

Still, the fact that these troubles actually have increased, as opposed to being remedied and the situations improving, speaks to just how disrupted the economy has been by this pandemic, and the significant amount of work that lies ahead in terms of returning to economic normalcy.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.


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