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Inflation is Big Worry: Small-Business Survey

Finding workers also continuing source of concern

WASHINGTON — Inflation is a growing cause for concern among small-business owners these days, as evidenced by the latest National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Optimism Index. Twenty-six percent of owners reported that inflation was their single most important problem in operating their business, a four-point increase since December and the highest reading since the third quarter of 1981.

“Inflation continues to be a problem on Main Street, leading more owners to raise selling prices again in February,” says NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Supply chain disruptions and labor shortages also remain problems, leading to lower earnings and sales for many.”

Among the survey’s key findings:

  • Owners raising average selling prices increased seven points to a net 68% (seasonally adjusted), a 48-year-record-high reading.
  • Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months decreased two points to a net negative 35%.
  • Forty-eight percent of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, an increase of one point from January.

In a recent NFIB monthly jobs report, 93% of owners hiring or trying to hire reported few or no qualified applicants for their open positions.

Thirty-seven percent of owners report that supply chain disruptions have had a significant impact on their business. Another 33% report a moderate impact, and 21% report it as mild. Only 8% of owners report no impact from the recent disruptions.

The NFIB Research Center has collected small-business economic trends data with quarterly surveys since 1973 and monthly surveys since 1986. Respondents are drawn randomly from NFIB’s membership.

Looking for data specific to self-service laundries? Watch for our annual State of the Industry Survey report, presented in four parts starting March 29!

Half of Small-Business Owners Can’t Fill Positions

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected] .