The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index decreased in March by 2.4 points to 93.2, the third consecutive month below the 48-year average of 98. 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. 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,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “With inflation, an ongoing staffing shortage, and supply chain disruptions, small business owners remain pessimistic about their future business conditions.” State-specific data isn’t available, but NFIB State Director Brad Jones said, “It’s frustrating because it feels like we take two steps back every time we take one step forward, but Missouri’s small business owners will continue doing everything they can to keep costs and prices under control and provide the goods and services their customers need right now.” Key findings include: Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months decreased 14 points to a net negative 49%, the lowest level recorded in the 48-year-old survey. Forty-seven percent of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, a decrease of one point from February. The net percent of owners raising average selling prices increased four points to a net 72% (seasonally adjusted), the highest reading in the survey’s history.

See more in this weeks Boone County Journal

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