Optimism Among Business Leaders Remains Strong

We asked business executives and the general public about the state of their companies, how they feel about the future and more.
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Photo: Getty Images
Boss Optimism Index

The BOSS Optimism Index remains strong at 119, though it has fallen from a near-record high of 131 in April.

April may have been a high point for optimism among local business leaders as the rollout of Covid vaccines back then suggested an imminent end to the pandemic. But by October, reality had set in about the Delta variant’s power and many people’s resistance to getting vaccinated.

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The index is based on business leaders’ forecasts of the local economy over the coming year: 38% believe it will improve, 36% believe it will remain flat and 23% feel it will worsen.

Measuring optimism among business leaders is not just a fun intellectual exercise. How business leaders feel about the future helps guide their decisions now on whether to expand their businesses, invest in new products and services, and hire more workers or give employees raises.

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Note: Percentages don’t always add to 100 due to rounding.

To dive deeper into this topic, we asked the business leaders polled: Which of these three statements best describes your company’s spending plans in the coming year? There was no significant change from April, when we last asked the question.

We also asked business leaders to rate their confidence that their companies will still be in business three years from now, and compared results to the same question in the October 2020 survey. Confidence was much stronger this year – but, of course, any company that went out of business in the past 12 months is no longer around to answer the BOSS Survey.

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We asked each business leader which of the following options best describes the current condition of their company. We compared those results with the responses of the 297 people who said they are employed and who participated in the 808 Poll of the general public.

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Unsurprisingly, businesses in the visitor industry fared poorly compared to other companies. For instance, 36% of visitor industry companies describe themselves as either barely surviving or having an uncertain future. Just 3% describe their situations as flourishing. However, 29% of businesses operating outside of the visitor industry say they are flourishing.

Next, business representatives were asked to choose one of five descriptions about their companies’ prospects over the next two years. Again, results were compared to those of the general public.

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Once again, businesses outside of the visitor industry are more bullish, with 22% believing they will continue to flourish. By comparison, only 9% of visitor industry firms expect to flourish in the next two years.

When do you think the local economy will rebound to levels last seen in 2019, before the pandemic?

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Hawai‘i had about 2.7 million visitors in 2020 and DBEDT forecasts about 6.8 million this year. How many visitors do you think Hawai‘i will have in 2022?

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*dk/da: Didn’t know or didn’t answer



Categories: BOSS Survey, Business & Industry, Community & Economy