Nothing’s come easy amid the pandemic, to put it mildly. But through the past 18 months, we’ve found out just how resilient “Main Street” SMBs really are.
In fact, as found in the latest SMB update, as part of PYMNTS’ ongoing Pandenomics series, Main Street SMBs took about a year to recover, while other, larger brethren are still struggling.
One notable finding is that staffing levels are lower, depending on where you look. As a group, restaurants employ 24% fewer workers than they did before the pandemic. Pivoting a bit toward the services segments, demand is in place, as wages for these firms are 10% higher than before the pandemic.
Different industries tell different tales. In addition to headwinds in staffing levels, restaurants saw their economic health deteriorate more than any other segment through the pandemic, with the score falling 42% through the pandemic.
In terms of overall health, the Main Street Merchant Index (MSI) score — a quarterly metric that shows how Main Street’s economic health changes over time – was most recently more than 101, which indicates growth. That’s markedly better than the readings of larger and average-sized firms.
Drill down a bit and some regional impacts become apparent. Main Street SMBs in the south recovered more quickly than other regions and are doing 2.4% “better” than before the pandemic. Conversely, Main Street SMBs in the northeast did not recover until earlier this year.