Even though it has been more than two years since the pandemic erupted and all restrictions regarding the health situation have been removed, the majority of self-employed workers have not yet recovered from the economic crisis that so severely affected their businesses. According to a survey released by the National Federation of Associations of Self-Employed Workers – ATA, there are over 2.1 million self-employed workers. This is two-thirds of the total.

In fact, 30% of entrepreneurs who are still struggling do not think they will close their businesses. 6.6% of them see it as so dire that they believe you have to open the eyes. Even though the pandemic was over, their economic situation is not improving. They are now suffering from the effects of the invasion by Ukraine, the constant rise in prices, shortages of raw materials, and the rising energy prices. These are all factors that will not help the group recover what they lost in the years following the pandemic. Only 7.2% of respondents are optimistic about returning to pre-Covid-19 levels this year, and half don’t expect to do so by 2023.

One million self-employed workers (30.3%) have a pessimistic outlook on their business. They fear that it will not improve and that their turnover may drop by as much as 30%. However, over half of them are positive that their business will improve or remain the same and 14% believe that their activity will rise before the end.

The self-employed are most affected by the rising energy costs and the supply issues. They are most concerned about the rising cost of electricity. However, what is really hurting them is the increase in the price of raw materials (55% say it is affecting them quite a bit and a lot), and then the rise fuel prices, according to this study.

Since more than 80% have been affected by inflation, 57% of them have had to raise prices for customers. 37.8%, however, have taken on the cost themselves and not passed any additional costs to the customer. However, if the current high inflation (8.3% in April) continues, two thirds of self-employed workers (62.3%) expect to have their prices increase if the situation becomes unsustainable. However, almost 24% of them do not intend to make their products or services more costly in the immediate future.

These costs cannot be passed on because there is “no capacity in the business structure to raise prices”. Lorenzo Amor is president of ATA. The vice president of ATA stated that “we are more sensible than government, which raises taxes”. He also said that ATA doesn’t consider raising prices if it doesn’t sell.

Amor cites the “worrying rise” in self-employed delinquencies, which have risen six points since June 2021, and three since December. It currently stands at almost 40%. This means that over 1.2 million self-employed workers owe money, and that 15% of them owe the Public Administrations.