The BCS Chamber of Commerce has compiled results of visits with 545 businesses this spring.
Chamber president Royce Hickman says it’s the most optimistic owners and other decision makers have been in five years.
One of three questions asked annually is how have sales changed from the year before. 66 percent reported an increase, compared to 57 percent reporting an increase last year.
There was also an improvement in future employment plans. 47 percent expect to increase the number of employees this year. Last year, 40 percent expected an increase.
And 84 percent of businessowners expect the economy to improve this year, up from 69 percent last year.
The annual survey included two new questions. Hickman says the overall quality of the local workforce was rated at 60 percent good. But a concern is the availability of construction workers, which rated 39 percent good.
Another new question was rating the quality of life, which 90 percent of respondents rated as good.
Hickman says more than 125 volunteers visited with chamber members and non-members, in some cases being able to respond to concerns and answer questions on the spot.
Click below for comments from Royce Hickman, visiting with WTAW’s Bill Oliver.