Small Business Optimism Slips in September as Labor Shortages, Inflation Impact Business Operations

National Federation of Independent Business (10/12/21)

Small business optimism decreased one point in September to 99.1, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. Three of the 10 components of the NFIB small business optimism index improved, five declined, and two were unchanged. The uncertainty index increased five points to 74. Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months decreased five points to a net negative 33%. Fifty-one percent of small business owners reported job openings that could not be filled, a 48-year record high for the third consecutive month.

A net 42% of small business owners reported raising compensation, a 48-year record high. A net 30% of small business owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months, up four points from August’s record high reading. Twelve percent of small business owners cited labor costs as their top business problem and 28% said that labor quality was their top business problem—both record high readings.

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