Using data from the national 2024 Report on Employer Firms: Findings from the 2023 Small Business Credit Survey, this brief summarizes responses from the Third District states (Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania). The survey finds that for the third year in a row, more than half of the firms in the three states said their financial conditions were poor or fair.

Other findings from the 828 firms surveyed in these states include the following:

  • More firms said they experienced no change in their revenues between 2022 and 2023 than did between 2021 and 2022, and fewer said revenues increased or decreased.
  • Fewer firms carried debt, although about the same number of firms applied for loans, lines of credit, or merchant cash advances compared with the previous year.
  • The top operational challenges were hiring or retaining qualified staff, reaching customers or growing sales, and supply chain issues.

The Federal Reserve’s Small Business Credit Survey is a national sample of small businesses, or firms with fewer than 500 employees, aimed at providing insight into firms’ financing and debt needs and experiences. The Fed conducted its survey from September through November 2023 and reached more than 6,000 small employer firms nationwide.

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