Nevada State Bank’s eighth annual statewide survey of small business owners and managers presents a snapshot of how Nevada businesses are coping after nearly a year of dealing with the hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also reflects a hopeful perspective regarding economic recovery during the next 18 months.

"Small businesses in Nevada have been the most accurate at telling us where the economy is going to go, and if I'm going to use one word to describe how small business is feeling this year, it's pensive," said Jeremy Aguero, principal analyst with Applied Analysis, which conducted the survey on behalf of the bank. “They recognize the difficulties of 2020 and are looking to the future.”

To download a copy of Nevada State Bank’s 2021 Small Business Survey report, please visit

Highlights of this year’s survey include:

  • More than half of the respondents reported their business revenues or sales decreased over the prior 12 months. but 42% believe they will see increases during the next year.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 decreased their staffing over the prior 12 months, but 30% plan to increase their employment base during 2021.
  • For the first time in eight years, the economy was the No. 1 concern for small business owners. Government regulation came in second, with healthcare costs and business taxes tied for third.
  • Although a majority of small businesses (71%) feel the business environment in Nevada has gotten worse over the past year, 47% believe it will improve in 2021.
  • Almost 3 in 4 of the small businesses surveyed (70.8%) applied for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, a relief program brought about by the CARES Act. Of those who applied, nearly all were successful in obtaining a loan to help them retain employees.
  • Nearly 60% of small business respondents are “very” or “moderately” concerned about housing affordability and 29% believe the availability of workforce housing could worsen in 2021. 50% of respondents believe interest rates will rise this year, which would further impact housing affordability.
  • For the sixth year, survey respondents cited difficulty recruiting quality job candidates as a major concern. Nearly 74% noted that it was “somewhat to very difficult” to recruit quality job candidates from within the Nevada market.
  • Nevada businesses expect to return to pre-COVID levels in an average 1.8 years, whereas they expect the US economy to take an average of 3 years.

This year’s survey was conducted in January 2021. To ensure it was statistically significant, the Applied Analysis team surveyed more than 400 small business decision makers, including owners, operators and executives representing Nevada businesses with annual sales ranging from $250,000 to $10 million. They asked questions about the economy, business environment, revenue and profitability, employment, community involvement, and the overall outlook for small businesses in Nevada.

“There was still a lot of uncertainty in January 2021,” noted NSB President/CEO Terry Shirey. “But even with everything they have been through, small businesses are not pessimistic—they are the opposite—they believe that they will get through this, and more quickly than businesses in the rest of the nation. I really hope that, one year from now, when we conduct this survey again, we’ll see that Nevada small businesses’ cautious optimism for the coming year was justified.”

Click here to download your copy of the survey report.

Click here to see a video about the survey results, featuring NSB President/CEO Terry Shirey and Jeremy Aguero, principal of Applied Analysis.


The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC