Small businesses grapple with inflation, future optimism at all time low according to survey

by sam

Samuel Case, FISM News


A recent survey by the National Federation of Independent businesses (NFIB) found that small businesses view inflation as the “single most important problem in their business” and don’t believe things are going to get better any time soon.  

The latest NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, conducted in March, reported that “thirty-one percent of owners reported that inflation was the single most important problem in their business, up five points from February and the highest reading since the first quarter of 1981.” It also found that “inflation has now replaced ‘labor quality’ as the number one problem.”  

“Inflation has impacted small businesses throughout the country and is now their most important business problem,” NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg summarized. “With inflation, an ongoing staffing shortage, and supply chain disruptions, small business owners remain pessimistic about their future business conditions.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index report for March found that inflation rose at a rate of 1.2% and had increased by 8.5% over the last 12 months – marking the fastest annual increase since December 1981, CNBC reported. 

As a result of ongoing inflation the NFIB report suggests that “the net percent of owners raising average selling prices increased four points to a net 72% (seasonally adjusted),” which the report notes is the highest in the survey’s history.

The NFIB also found that small businesses aren’t optimistic about the future, with the report showing the number of business owners expecting conditions to improve in the next six months dropped by 14 points, making for a net negative of 49% – another record in the survey’s history.

Hiring shortages remain a stumbling block for businesses as well. The survey found 47% of business owners are still reporting job openings that they are struggling to fill, which is only a one point decrease from February.