BEACON releases report on economic outlook for business community

SALISBURY, Md. – BEACON at Salisbury University is reporting that overall, Eastern Shore business owners have a positive outlook on the next 12 months.

BEACON conducted a study asking businesses what hardships they faced in the pandemic, where they stand now, and their concerns moving forward. “Those are questions that we will be able to reuse in future disasters, whether it be a hurricane, an economic disaster like COVID-19,” said BEACON Director John Hickman.

Hickman says the results of this study are unique, in that the pandemic has brought new struggles for the business community. “Do businesses find the resources that have been deployed valuable? And, would they see a value for them in the future?” he said. “Four years ago, that would have never even been our study.”

Although the next year is looking promising, businesses say they have worries over the next three months. Hickman says in the hospitality industry, the concerns lay in the current off-season dip. “The largest concerns were related to labor force and inflation. Those are trends that you’re seeing nationwide, that businesses and consumers are looking at,” he said. “You’re looking at absorbing that, learning to deal with supply chain interruptions. Businesses are already starting to make transitions to different supply chains.”

But, Hickman says it’s not all doom and gloom ahead. “There are some brightening skies on the labor outlook. Unemployment rates are going down. So, businesses should be able to react to that and absorb that. General sentiment and business sentiment, nationally, continues to be positive,” he said.

Hickman also tells us, all of those things contribute to increased consumer spending over time, which helps the economy overall. “I think as they start implementing those changes, we’ll move perspective,” he said.

Click here for the full study.

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