As states begin to reopen after the COVID-19 closures, it seems that businesses are beginning to be more optimistic, specifically when it comes to keeping their doors open.

The Small Business Optimism Index increased 6.2 points in June to 100.6 with 8 of the 10 components improving and only two declining.

“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 survey also found that the NFIB Uncertainty Index decreased one point in June to 81, as earnings declined to the negative 35 percent in the last 3 months which is the lowest since March 2010. It also found that the percent of owners who think now is a good time to expand improved 8 points to 10 percent with job creation plans increasing 8 points as well to a net 16 percent.

“Our members realize it may be months before the economy fully recovers,” NFIB State Director Dawn Starns said, “and they are committed to following the guidelines and keeping employees and customers as safe and healthy as possible, so the recovery comes sooner rather than later.”

The NFIB has now released five legislative priorities, “NFIB Phase Five Legislative Priorities for Small Business Recovery,” in order to help ensure businesses have what they need for recovery. It targets securing financial assistance, strong liability protections, providing tax relief and reforming unemployment insurance.

“Small businesses, which make up half the U.S. economy and account for nearly half of all jobs, have been the hardest hit during this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges they face are not of their own making, and small businesses across the country are doing everything they can to take care of employees, reopen their businesses, and help their communities,” said NFIB President Brad Close. “Relief efforts by the Administration and Congress have allowed many to remain afloat, but there is still more work to do. These proposed legislative recommendations reflect our members’ concerns and will help provide support and protection they so desperately need.”

The plan is as follows:

  1. Financial Assistance: Secure near-term and longer-term financial assistance programs for the smaller businesses with continuing financial needs.
  2. Liability Protections: Create strong liability protections that enable small businesses to reopen safely and smartly without the fear of devastating lawsuits.
  3. Tax Relief: Provide tax relief for small businesses so they can recover faster, keep and hire employees, and bolster their communities.
  4. Unemployment Insurance Reform: Reform unemployment insurance so small businesses can quickly fill open positions and get the economy growing again.
  5. Regulatory Relief: Protect small businesses from additional regulatory requirements or expanding existing mandates.

The plan can be found here.