Small Business Optimism Inched Up 0.6 Points to 91.9 in November

Washington, DC, December 13, 2022-Inflation remains the top business problem for small business owners, with 32% of owners reporting it as their single most important problem in operating their business, five points lower than July’s highest reading since the fourth quarter of 1979. The Small Business Optimism Index rose 0.6 points in November to 91.9. November’s reading is the 11th consecutive month below the 49-year average of 98.

“Going into the holiday season, small business owners are seeing a slight ease in inflation pressures, but prices remain high,” said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. “The small business economy is recovering as owners manage an ongoing labor shortage, supply chain disruptions, and historic inflation.”

Key findings include:

* Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months improved three points from October to a net negative 43%, a recession reading.

* Forty-four percent of owners reported job openings that were hard to fill, down two points from October, but historically high and not typical of a recession period.

* The net percent of owners raising average selling prices increased one point to a net 51% seasonally adjusted, a high reading but lower than earlier this year.

* The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher improved five points from October to a net negative 8%, a weak economic reading.

As reported in NFIB’s monthly jobs report, 44% of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period. The difficulty in filling open positions is particularly acute in the transportation, wholesale, and construction sectors. Owners’ plans to fill open positions remain elevated, with a net 18% (seasonally adjusted) planning to create new jobs in the next three months.