According to a study released on Tuesday, although owners of small businesses in the United States reported an increase in their confidence levels in February, many of them continued to have trouble recruiting staff.
The Small Business Optimism Index rose by 0.6 points to 90.9 over the course of the last month, as reported by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB). Yet, it was the 14th month in a row that the index was lower than the 98-point average that has been recorded during the previous 49 years.
In February, 47 percent of business owners indicated that they had job openings that were difficult to fill. This is a 2 point increase from January, when 45 percent of owners reported the same thing.
This is in line with the findings of previous assessments which suggest that the job market is still competitive. According to a study that was released by the Department of Labor only last week, there were 1.9 job vacancies for every jobless person in the month of January. The National Federation of Independent Business found that the construction, transportation, and service industries were all suffering from severe workforce shortages. The financial industry has the fewest available positions.
The percentage of owners who stated that inflation was their single most significant concern grew by 2 percentage points to reach 28%, but this figure was 9 percentage points lower than its all-time high in July, which was the most it had been since the fourth quarter of 1979.
Just around 38% of business owners reported an increase in their typical selling prices, which is a drop of 4 percentage points from January. The statistics that will be released by the government on Tuesday is expected to reveal that consumer prices increased substantially in the month of February. Nevertheless, the year-on-year increase is likely to be the smallest it has been since late 2021.
The percentage of owners who anticipate stronger inflation-adjusted sales rose by 5 percentage points, reaching a new low of minus 9%. The owners remained pessimistic about the state of the company’s finances during the following half year.