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NFIB survey: Small business optimism up slightly in September

Thirty percent of small business owners said inflation is their single most important operational problem, according to a National Federation of Independent Businesses September survey. 

The national survey also showed the percentage of small business owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months improved but was still “dismal” at 42%.

And, NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index rose 0.3 points last month to 92.1. That’s the ninth consecutive month below the 48-year average of 98.

“Small business owners are frustrated, but they’re hopeful that the worst is behind us and they can continue to grow their businesses,” NFIB Alabama Director Rosemary Elebash said in a written statement.

A NFIB jobs report last week said 46% of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in September, down three points from August. The number of unfilled job openings exceeds the 48-year historical average of 23%.

“Inflation and worker shortages continue to be the hardest challenges facing small business owners,” NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said. “Even with these challenges, owners are still seeking opportunities to grow their business in the current period.”

The survey showed that supply chain problems continue to impact small businesses. Thirty-two percent of owners said supply chain disruptions have had a significant impact on their business. Thirty-four percent report a moderate impact and 22% report a mild impact.

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