Summary Small business sentiment wavered in September. The NFIB’s Optimism Index decreased to 99.1, down from 100.1 in August. The monthly decline brings the overall index to the lowest level since March. Labor shortages, rising input costs and supply chain issues are all contributing to growing pessimism among small businesses. Notably, 51% of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, which marks a 48-year record high. The share of firms raising selling prices eased slightly, which provides some evidence that inflation pressures may be starting to come off the boil. That noted, the share of businesses planning to raise prices in the next three months increased two points to 46%, suggesting the hot inflation environment is likely to persist. These challenges are weighing on firms’ assessment of the economic outlook. The share of firms expecting the economy to improve fell five points to a net negative 33%. Labor Shortages and Inflation Continue to Pressure Optimism
- Small business optimism wavered in September. The NFIB’s Optimism Index decreased to 99.1, down from 100.1 in August. Five of the 10 index components declined over the month, while three improved and two were unchanged.