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Small business optimism declined in...

Small business optimism declined in March

By: Sarah Ulmer - April 11, 2023

According to NFIB, inflation and tight labor market remain top concerns for employers.

According to the most recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), overall optimism among business owners decreased by 0.8 points to 90.1 in March. This is the 15th consecutive month below the 49-year average of 98.

Businesses expressed concern over continued inflation and trouble finding workers.

View the full report here.

“Inflation and a tight labor market are making it hard for small business owners to plan and provide the goods and services their customers expect,” said Mississippi State Director, Dawn McVea. “Small business owners are tenacious, but it’s hard for them to stay upbeat when the economic outlook is so uncertain.”

Twenty-four percent of owners said inflation was their single most important issue, which is down four points from February. Those expecting better conditions over the next six months remain at a net negative 47 percent.

Key findings of the national survey include: 

  • Forty-three percent of owners reported job openings that were hard to fill, down four points from February and remaining historically very high. 
  • The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased one point to a net 37% seasonally adjusted. 
  • The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher deteriorated six points from February to a net negative 15%. 

“Small business owners are cynical about future economic conditions,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Hiring plans fell to their lowest level since May 2020, but strong consumer spending has kept Main Street alive and supported strong labor demand.”

The chart below provides a glimpse into what small business owners are thinking and how their concerns have changed over the last month.

About the Author(s)
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Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state. Email Sarah: