Small Business Credit Survey Shows Business Growth
The 12 Federal Reserve Banks have released the 2019 Small Business Credit Survey: Report on Employer Firms. This latest iteration of the annual survey of small firms with 1 to 499 full- or part-time employees displays responses from over 6,600 businesses weighted to reflect the U.S. population of small businesses that have employees.
The report, appendix, and survey questionnaire are on FedSmallBusiness.org, along with previous Federal Reserve researchers' reports and papers on small business–related topics.
The 2019 report, based on the Small Business Credit Survey fielded in the third and fourth quarters of 20181, shows a larger share of firms reported revenue and employment growth over the previous year. There is continued optimism about revenue growth, with 72 percent of firms expecting to increase their revenue in 2019. Online lenders continue to gain ground in the small business financing sector, with 32 percent of firms applying to such lenders for financing, up significantly from previous years. Large and small banks still dominate the small-business financing landscape, however, with 49 percent and 44 percent of applicants, respectively, turning to these banks.
Here are some key findings about small business financing in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana:2
- Applicants in Alabama and Georgia were more likely to go to small banks for loans, lines of credits, or cash advances. Sixty-two percent of Alabama applicants and 52 percent of Georgia applicants used small banks, compared with 44 percent nationally.
- Large banks and online lenders played a larger role in Florida's small business financing landscape, with 65 percent and 40 percent of applicants applying to them, respectively, compared with 49 percent and 32 percent nationally. In contrast, just 26 percent of Alabama applicants used large banks, and 22 percent turned to online lenders for financing.
- Small-business applicants across Alabama and Louisiana were more likely to seek financing to meet operating expenses than for reasons of expansion or the replacement of capital assets. Fifty-seven percent of Alabama small business applicants and 64 percent of applicants in Louisiana did so, compared to 44 percent across the country.
- A relatively large share of small businesses in Florida and Georgia said they expect to hire additional workers in the coming year: 53 percent and 55 percent, respectively, compared with 44 percent nationally.
- A relatively large share of Georgia firms reported they were profitable: 63 percent, compared with 57 percent nationally.
- Seventy-six percent of Florida firms expect revenue growth in 2019; 72 percent of firms nationwide expect such growth.
- Small businesses in Florida and Georgia are relatively young. Forty percent and 36 percent, respectively, can be classified as start-ups (between zero and six years of age), compared with 34 percent across the country.
- Firms in Alabama and Louisiana are older than the national average: only 30 percent and 31 percent, respectively, are start-ups. However, 26 percent of firms in both states are over 21 years old, compared with 23 percent nationally.
For further results and details, both on small businesses nationally and in these four southeastern states, check out the 2019 Small Business Credit Survey: Report on Employer Firms at FedSmallBusiness.org.
1 The Small Business Credit Survey report has adopted a name change this year. While previous reports were titled for the year the survey was conducted, starting this year, the report title reflects the calendar year the report is released.
2 Results for Mississippi and Tennessee small businesses are not available due to either a low number of observations or high standard errors after the creation of state-specific population weights.