Despite the ongoing challenges presented by a stubbornly lingering pandemic and subsequent national economic shutdown, many small business owners are feeling somewhat better about business prospects in general.
That is the finding of a new survey completed by the National Federation of Independent Business showing a 3.8 point increase in the group’s Small Business Optimism Index.
The exact index result at 104, in fact, surpasses all survey results conducted by the NFIB during the depths of the Great Recession.
“As parts of the country continue to open, small businesses are seeing some improvements in foot traffic and sales,” Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist with the NFIB, said in a statement.
But Dunkelberg was quick to add that “some small businesses are still struggling financially to operate at full capacity while navigating state and local regulations, and are uncertain about what will happen in the future.”
The survey also showed that small business owners, anticipating an improved business climate between now and the spring of next year, have increased by 8% for a total 32% of respondents.
A clear majority of respondents, at 53%, said they had undertaken capital outlays in the last three months, up from 47% in August; with 38% reporting new equipment expenditures, 23% purchasing vehicles; and 16% either improving or expanding their facilities.
With the incrementally improving economic pictures, 23% reported raising compensation for their employees, an increase of 5% from August. Another 16% said they are planning to implement similar increases by early 2021.
In summing up the survey, an NFIB press release stated that the March to September pandemic economic downturn may ultimately comprise “the shortest recession in modern history.”
The statement adds that “more construction firms have unfilled openings than in any other industry,” with both durable and capital goods orders generally increasing in recent weeks.
By Garry Boulard
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