The U.S. Census Bureau this week launched Phase 8 of the Small Business Pulse Survey (SBPS), which includes new questions designed to gauge the impact of COVID-19 on the nation’s small businesses.
Initial results of the latest phase of the experimental survey are set to be released next week on February 24.
The SBPS was launched in April 2020 to measure the effect of changing business conditions on the nation’s small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. It has also proven valuable in measuring the impact of other major events, such as hurricanes, on our nation’s small businesses.
The SBPS complements existing Census Bureau data by providing detailed, near real-time information on the challenges small businesses face.
Here’s what’s new in Phase 8:
* A question designed to gauge the impact of COVID-19 on the availability of supplies and current employees’ availability to work. It also measures employees’ access to COVID tests.
* A planned capital expenditure question updated to reference year 2021.
* Adjusted questions about changes in remote work, supply and price levels. The survey now asks how these levels have changed from six months ago (versus March 2020).
The survey will also continue to ask about operations, workplace COVID-19 vaccinations and testing requirements, supply-chain disruptions, measures of overall well-being and recovery expectations.
There are 21 questions, estimated to take about six minutes to complete (the same as prior phases).
Each week, the survey will be sent to approximately 100,000 small businesses. Over the course of nine weeks, nearly one million small businesses will receive an invitation to participate. This survey defines small businesses as those with a single location with one to 499 employees.
SBPS results reveal how changes in business operations, employment and hours and the availability of consumer goods and services are impacting small businesses.
The Census Bureau plans to release SBPS results every Thursday from February 24 through April 21. The data, which will include estimates for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the nation’s 50 most populated metropolitan statistical areas, will be available through the SBPS interactive tool and downloadable files. Sector and subsector data are also available.