Indiana small business owners cite unemployment benefits as the key factor to hiring shortages

UNDATED  – The NFIB Research Center released its latest COVID-19 survey on the impact the pandemic has had on small businesses in Indiana. This survey is NFIB’s 17th survey in the series.

Challenges in revenue recovery and the challenge of hiring qualified workers remain the two top challenges for Indiana small business owners.

NFIB State Director in Indiana Barbara Quandt

“Are we ready to talk about one of the key reasons staffing is so challenging?” said Barbara Quandt, NFIB State Director in Indiana. “Small business owners tell me that employees refuse to come back to work because they can net more on unemployment. Add to that the arrival of stimulus checks in their bank accounts, and workers are comfortable with little incentive to go back to work.”

Key findings include:

Sales levels:

Sales levels are 50 percent or less than they were pre-crisis for 14 percent of small businesses with another 22 percent at sales levels of 51 percent – 75 percent pre-crisis levels.

  • Thirty-eight percent of small businesses are back or nearly back to where they were with sales between 76 percent -100 percent of pre-crisis levels.
  • About one in five (21 percent) are exceeding pre-crisis sales levels.

Fifteen percent of owners report that conditions are back to normal now.

  • Another 8 percent of owners anticipate it taking until the first half of 2021 and 29 percent anticipate sometime in the second half before economic conditions return to pre-crisis levels.
  • About one-third (36 percent) of small business owners are less optimistic and expect conditions not to fully improve until sometime in 2022 and 12 percent after 2022.

Three-fourths (75 percent) of small businesses report that they will be able to operate for more than a year in current economic conditions.

  • On the other hand, 12 percent of owners report that they will only be able to continue business operations for six months or less under current economic conditions and another 13 percent for 7-12 months.

Supply Chain Disruptions:

When asked if supply chain disruptions are impacting their business, 26 percent of small business owners reported it having a significant impact.

  • Thirty percent of owners reported it having a moderate impact on their business and 29% said it has had a mild impact on their business.
  • Fifteen percent of owners reported supply chain disruptions as having no impact on their business.


Nineteen percent of small employers are currently experiencing a significant staffing shortage and another 19 percent report having a moderate staffing shortage.

  • Forty percent of owners are not experiencing a staffing shortage.

Of those experiencing a staffing shortage, 20 percent had a significant loss of sales opportunities and 25 percent had a moderate loss of sales opportunities because of the staffing shortage.

  • Thirty-five percent of small businesses had a mild loss of sales opportunities and another 20% had no loss in sales opportunities.

This publication marks NFIB’s 17th Small Business COVID-19 survey assessing the health crisis impact on small business operations, economic conditions, and utilization of the targeted small business loan programs. The first series was published in early March 2020 with subsequent publications every 2-4 weeks, found here. The full survey of the 17th edition is available here.