Triangle business owners are expressing optimism after a promising March.
MICHAEL PERCHICK: The US added 916,000 jobs to the economy in March, its highest jump since August, with unemployment dipping to 6%. Pains replaced by growing promise as momentum picks up after a rough 12 months.
AMBER BRENNAN: March was a record-breaking month for us here. We actually beat our aggressive sales goals by 34%.
MICHAEL PERCHICK: Amber Brennan is the owner of Rose & Lee Co., a women's boutique in downtown Apex. Like many retail shops, Brennan has heavily focused on social media and online sales, but increasing vaccinations and relaxed capacity restrictions are helping drive more traffic in store.
AMBER BRENNAN: We've had a lot of people coming in saying that they had made a conscious effort to spend their stimulus locally. And so a lot of people are just utilizing that to help local businesses.
MICHAEL PERCHICK: Brennan is referring to the $1,400 stimulus checks, part of the recent American Rescue Plan. In Raleigh, Charles Winston Jr., the co-owner of Winston's Grill, says March was their best month since the beginning of the pandemic.
CHARLES WINSTON JR.: We're getting a lot of customers that have had their second immunization shot. And so they're coming in and saying, "You know, we haven't been here in a year. We just finished our two weeks since our last vaccination so we're back and we're happy to be back."
MICHAEL PERCHICK: He says the recent change from 50% to 75% indoor capacity didn't make much of a difference as they're still confined by the six feet social distancing requirements. But he is hopeful that increasing vaccinations will help grow consumer confidence, trying to staff for a return to full dining rooms.
CHARLES WINSTON JR.: The flow of applicants is just very low. And we all, all restaurants now are hiring. Everybody's trying to hire up to get ready for not only the summer but to get ready for the release of the 75% to 100%.
MICHAEL PERCHICK: Despite the overall promising jobs report there's still areas for improvement, as the unemployment rate remains well above the pre-pandemic historic low of 3.5%.
I'm Michael Perchick, ABC 11 Eyewitness News.