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U.S. Chamber: Small Business Optimism Improves as COVID-19 Vaccinations Proceed

  • Survey from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife finds more small business owners believe the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic has passed
  • Optimism surges from the Q4 2020 amid easing business restrictions and vaccination efforts
  • Three-quarters of small business owners plan to keep precautions in place until the pandemic is over

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

About two-thirds of small business owners are optimistic that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, according to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife survey for the second quarter of 2021.

This share is up 21 points from a survey conducted in the fourth quarter of 2020. The survey, conducted between April 21 and May 6, follows a third wave of COVID-19 infections at the start of the year but also a significant decline in cases as COVID-19 vaccinations became widely available. Business restrictions have also been largely eased, although three-quarters of small business owners surveyed said they plan to keep precautions in place until the pandemic is over.

Other findings included:

  • 67 percent of service industries agreed that the worst of the pandemic has passed, up from 29 percent in Q4 2020; professional services businesses also saw a surge in optimism, with the share agreeing that the worst of the pandemic is over increasing 30 points to 72 percent
  • 44 percent of respondents described themselves as hopeful, with 31 percent saying they are comfortable with current conditions; 24 percent said they are concerned
  • Just 27 percent rated the U.S. economy as good, but this was up 6 points from Q4 2020; 46 percent rate it as poor, a 4-point reduction and the first decline during the pandemic
  • More small business owners expect higher revenues and plan to ramp up hiring

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