The BusinessPulse, powered by Barlow Research Associates, Inc., provides detailed analysis and reporting on small business sentiment including economic position, economic confidence, and credit outlook for small and middle market companies. Barlow Research surveys more than 2,800 companies annually across the U.S. to gather current viewpoints and draws on 10 years of data to provide in-depth research on economic trends to the commercial banking sector.

Live Oak BusinessPulse


Third Quarter, 2021

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Findings include

Hiring continues to be a challenge for small businesses

1 out of 5 small businesses had employee decreases over the past 12 months

Small businesses anticipate a continued slowdown in hiring over the next 12 months as a result of streamlining their business and finding areas to create efficiencies

Small businesses have experienced pricing
pressure over the past 12 months


of small businesses have increased their prices

but profitability was limited with


of small businesses seeing decreased profits



of small businesses expect to increase their prices over the next 12 months

Small businesses are becoming increasingly
focused on creating a succession plan


of small businesses have taken steps to prepare for an ownership transition

The Live Oak BusinessPulse, fielded by Barlow Research Associates, is an invitation-only economic survey administered online or via fax, fielded for two weeks during the first month of each quarter.