Small business optimism rebounds, but uncertainty remains

Nationally, the Small Business Optimism Index increased 3.5 points in May to 94.4. That increase reflects a strong improvement from April and shows that small businesses are optimistic that conditions will improve as states reopen following the economic restrictions implemented to contain the coronavirus pandemic. However, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) also reported a seven-point increase in their uncertainty index, reflecting ongoing worries that future restrictions remain a possibility.

While the data is not specific to Whatcom County, the local business community also remains optimistic—but concerned.

“Over the years, we have seen our local economy rebound from a variety of downturns and recessions,” said Tony Larson, founder and president of the Whatcom Business Alliance (WBA). “While the pandemic and its economic impact are unprecedented, I believe that our community can return to prosperity once local businesses have more certainty regarding the future.”

While a sense of certainty largely depends on public health, a recent WBA survey of local business reported that uncertainty regarding public policy was their number one concern.

“Businesses in Whatcom County need to do everything they can to exert some control over their own destiny,” said Barbara Chase, WBA executive director. “Becoming active in local advocacy initiatives will help our businesses have a voice in how reopening affects them, and how quickly they can return to safely serving their customers.”

To learn more about how you can support the WBA’s advocacy efforts and help our community and local businesses rebound from the impact of the pandemic, contact Executive Director Barbara Chase.