The percentage of small businesses saying they will have to possibly close in the next six months dropped from 25 percent last December to 13 percent in a recent survey, conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).
“That number has gone down,” said Barbara Quandt, NFIB Indiana state director. "And while 13 percent represents a lot of small businesses, thousands of small businesses, it’s still an improvement. So baby steps, but we’re getting there.”
More than half of owners in the survey reported current sales around or above what they were during last year’s first quarter.
The improvement in outlook comes as restrictions are being lifted in Indiana. Many businesses have been able to file for Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness or apply to the second round of the program.
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Quandt said some owners expect it to take until next year for their business to return to pre-pandemic levels, but the optimism gives hope for the future.
“Traditionally, small businesses have led us out of recession,” she said. “So when you see these signs of life in the entrepreneurial community, that’s good news.”
Quandt said she’s heard from Hoosier small business owners that finding qualified workers has become the biggest issue aside from the pandemic.