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Corona Economics

Slight gains in optimism for small businesses amid coronavirus resurgence

Many small business owners see signs of hope, but reduce spending.

Small business owners are starting to show some signs of optimism in the era of coronavirus, according to survey results from the National Federation of Independent Businesses published Tuesday.

The national  “Small Business Optimism Index” increased to 100.6 in June, the NFIB reported. That’s up 6.2 points over May.

Small business owners generally expect sales to rebound up to 13% this month over the lowest points during of the pandemic in April when sales were nearly annihilated for many retailers.

NFIB Florida Executive Director Bill Herrle said small business owners may be optimistic about an economic rebound, but they’re also remaining focused on health concerns as COVID-19 outbreaks grow higher in the state.

Record cases continue to be recorded in Florida in particular. The Department of Health and Division of Emergency Management’s Tuesday morning report showed a net increase of 132 resident deaths and one non-resident death, bringing death tolls to 4,409 and 105, respectively due to coronavirus. The previous record mortality in a single report was 120, reached Thursday.

“The past few months have been difficult and frustrating for small businesses throughout the state, but owners are determined to get through this, and they will do everything they can to help protect the health of their employees and customers so the state’s economy can get back to what it was,” Herrle said.

While optimism remains on the upswing for many small business owners, June data shows economic realities were lagging. There was a decrease in spending on new equipment at small business across the country.

Only 32% of small business owners spent money a new equipment in June, that’s down by 3% from May, according to the NFIB. About 18% spent money on new vehicles, down by 2%.

“Small businesses are navigating the various federal and state policies in order to reopen their business and they are doing their best to adjust their business decisions accordingly,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “We’re starting to see positive signs of increased consumer spending, but there is still much work to be done to get back to pre-crisis levels.”

The NFIB “Uncertainty Index” increased by 2 points from May, rising to 81 in June.

The NFIB compiles its data from random sampling of its nationwide membership.

Written By

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at drewdixonwriting@gmail.com.

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