While the optimism index is up, overall better business condition expectations are down to a net negative 47 percent.
The Small Business Optimism Index has increased 0.6 points in February to 90.9 but still remains well below the 49-year average of 98. 28 percent. Business owners reported that inflation is their single most important problem which was up two points from January.
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“We’ve come a long way since the pandemic brought things to a halt in March 2020,” NFIB State Director Dawn McVea said. “It looks like the worst of the pandemic is behind us, but a lot of problems remain, like inflation that’s driven up prices for everyone from manufacturers to wholesalers to retailers. Higher prices and a lack of qualified job applicants are a cause for concern and raise a lot of doubts about how quickly things will get back to normal.”
Those business owners who were hoping for better business conditions over the next six months decreased by two points from January to a net negative 47 percent.
The key findings from the most recent survey include:
- Forty-seven percent of owners reported job openings that were hard to fill, remaining historically very high.
- The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased four points to a net 38% (seasonally adjusted).
- The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher improved five points from January to a net negative 9%.
The NFIB monthly report showed that 60 percent of owners were still facing hiring issues in the month of February. Of those, 90 percent of owners reported few or no qualified applicants for their open positions.
The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased four points from January to a net 38% (seasonally adjusted), the lowest since April 2021.
Unadjusted, 12% of owners reported lower average selling prices and 50% reported higher average selling prices.