Survey results from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) showed on Tuesday that the small business optimism index rose in February to 90.9 points from 90.3 points in January. However, despite the improvement, the index remains well below the 49-year average of 98 points.
The NFIB said that 28% of respondents called inflation the most serious problem of their business, which is 2% more than in January. Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months determined 2% from January, to a net negative 47%, as they continue to struggle with high inflation and labor shortages.
The data also showed that 47% of respondents reported difficulties filling open vacancies. The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher improved 5% from January, to a net negative 9%. The net percentage of owners raising average selling prices decreased 4%, to a net 38%. 60% of respondents reported capital outlays in the last six months, while 21% plan capital outlays in the next few months. Meanwhile, 20% of respondents reported that disruptions in the supply chain still have a significant impact on their business. Another 33% reported moderate exposure and 34% reported mild exposure.