Small Business Optimism Index Declined to 91.3 in October

Washington, DC, November 8, 2022-The Small Business Optimism Index declined 0.8 points in October to 91.3, which is the 10th consecutive month below the 49-year average of 98, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). 

Thirty-three percent of owners reported that inflation was their single most important problem in operating their business, three points higher than September’s reading and four points lower than July’s highest reading since the fourth quarter of 1979.

“Owners continue to show a dismal view about future sales growth and business conditions, but are still looking to hire new workers,” said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Inflation, supply chain disruptions, and labor shortages continue to limit the ability of many small businesses to meet the demand for their products and services.”

Key findings include:

* Of the ten Index components, two increased, seven declined, and one was unchanged.

* Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months deteriorated two points from September to a net negative 46%.

* The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased one point to a net 50% (seasonally adjusted). Half of all firms are raising prices, that’s inflation.

* The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher decreased three points from September to a net negative 13%.

As reported in NFIB’s monthly jobs report, 46% of owners reported job openings that were hard to fill, unchanged from September. Of those hiring or trying to hire, 90% of owners reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill.