The National Federation of Independent Business (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.
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.
The net percent of owners raising average selling prices increased four points to a net 72% (seasonally adjusted), the highest reading recorded in the series. Unadjusted, three percent of owners reported lower average selling prices and 71% reported higher average prices.