The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), one of the largest small business associations in the U.S., reported today (5-10-22) that their NFIB Small Business Optimism Index was unchanged in April, holding steady at a 93.2, the fourth consecutive month below the 48-year average of 98.
Small business owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months decreased one point to net-negative 50%, the lowest level ever recorded in the 48-year-old survey.
Thirty-two percent of owners reported that inflation was their single most important problem in operating their business, the highest reading since the first quarter of 1980.
Forty seven percent of owners (seasonally adjusted) continue to struggle to find workers to fill open positions. Of those businesses hiring or trying to hire, 93% of owners reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill.
Other highlights of the report include the following:
- Forty-seven percent of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, unchanged from March.
- The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased two points to a net 70% (seasonally adjusted), two points below last month’s highest reading.
- The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher increased six points from March to a net negative 12%.
In a statement prepared for the release of the February Index, NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said, “Small business owners are struggling to deal with inflation pressures. The labor supply is not responding strongly to small businesses’ high wage offers and the impact of inflation has significantly disrupted business operations.”
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Small Business Expectations for Better Business Conditions at Record, 48-year Low