Small business owners struggle with costs, inflation


A new survey shows that not since the pandemic have the percentage of small businesses experiencing rent problems been so high, but conditions appear to be improving in Illinois.

A survey by the small business network Alignable shows that 43% of small businesses nationwide were unable to pay their rent in full or on time in April, the highest percentage in three years. That is up four percentage points since March, also creating the largest month-to-month jump in rent delinquency in over a year.

Researcher Chuck Casto said conditions improved in Illinois at 29% of small business owners facing rent troubles.

“For March and April, it looks like many of the businesses in Illinois have been able to charge more and compensate for the inflationary times that we’re in,” said Casto.

Casto said increasing costs, including what small business owners are now required to pay for rent, coupled with declining revenues help to explain April’s exceedingly high rent delinquency rate.

He adds that cash reserves are now a concern again, as 34% of small business owners only have one month or less cash on hand. When business owners run out of cash, that can mean the end of the business.

According to the survey, Texas had the highest percentage of small businesses that experienced rent problems in April, with 52% rent delinquency rate. Massachusetts and California were second and third.

The top three business sectors experiencing the worst rent problems are restaurants, science and technology, and beauty salons.

The latest data is based on poll responses from 4,171 randomly selected small business owners surveyed from 4/1/24 to 4/24/24.