Hoosier small business owners remain concerned with inflation, supply chain disruptions

Small business owners across Indiana remain concerned about inflation but are becoming slightly more optimistic about business conditions, a National Federation of Independent Business survey found.

About 32% of small business owners in the Hoosier State reported that inflation remained their top concern, about five points lower than July’s reading, which was the highest since 1979.

The National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Optimism Index rose 0.6 points to 91.9 last month. The reading was, however, the 11th straight month below the 49-year average of 98. Most of the survey readings, except for the tight labor market, pointed to a recession or at least weak economic conditions.

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“Indiana’s small business economy is recovering, but owners are still facing labor issues across the state. Many employers say finding the right people with the right skills remains a challenge as the new year approaches,” said Natalie Robinson, NFIB Indiana state director. “This is especially worrisome as small businesses continue to deal with inflation that is affecting the price of everything from raw materials to their monthly rent.”

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The survey found a net negative 43% of Indiana business owners expected better business conditions over the next six months, and 44% had jobs that were difficult to fill. About 40% of business owners said they have recently raised wages, while 28% plan to in the next few months.

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The survey found that a net of 51% of small business owners have increased sales prices, and a net negative 8% expected retail sales to be higher.

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Around 55% of business owners have made a capital outflow over the past six months, up one percentage point from October. About 39% is spent on new equipment, 19% on vehicles and 12% on new or expanded facilities.

About 24% plan capital expenditures in the next few months, up a percentage point from October, the Small Business Optimism Index found.

A net negative 7% of small business owners reported higher sales over the past three months. A net negative 8% expect retail sales to improve, up 5 percentage points but still a weak reading, according to the NFIB.

Some 29% of business owners said supply chain disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic are still having a significant impact on their operations, the survey found. About 34% report moderate impact and 26% mild impact.

Only 11% of small business owners said they have not experienced any recent impact from supply chain disruptions.

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