Surveys say: Small businesses believe the worst may be behind us

As more Americans receive the COVID-19 vaccine, states lift restrictions, and businesses continue to reopen, a majority (65%) of small business owners are more optimistic that the worst of the pandemic is over. That’s according to the Q2 2021 MetLife and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index  released this week.

“Small businesses are seeing real reasons for optimism this quarter and we’re seeing that reflected in the data,” said Tom Sullivan, vice president of small business policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “The easing of capacity restrictions due to increased vaccinations means more small businesses are welcoming more customers. Increased foot traffic equates to economic growth and that is moving our country’s recovery forward.”

In the survey taken April 21 – May 6, small business owners described their feelings about their current operating strategy as “hopeful” (44%), while 31% said “comfortable” and 24% said “concerned.” Small businesses  also said that that easing COVID-19 restrictions (29%) and ramping up vaccinations in their area (28%) are the two biggest keys to their success in the remainder of 2021.

Other key findings:

  • Are COVID habits here to stay? 76% of small businesses intend to keep all COVID-19 safety precautions in place until the coronavirus pandemic ends.
  • In a tight labor market, employers seek to retain their workers. 52% of BMost small businesses anticipate retaining the same staffing level, up slightly from last quarter. 32% plan to increase staffing (same as Q1) and 11% plan to decrease staffing over the next year.
  • Over half (57%) of small businesses anticipate their revenue increasing this year, up 10 percentage points compared to last quarter, marking the most positive outlook of this metric during the pandemic.
  • Currently, 27% of small businesses rate the overall U.S. economy as good, up from 21% who said the same in Q1.
  • While 46% continue to say the national economy is poor, this is the first time this measure has fallen below 50% during the pandemic. Just last quarter, fully 60% of small businesses said the economy was poor.

For more findings from this quarter, visit

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