A sense of pessimism rises as inflation becomes the main concern for small-business owners
Expectations that economic conditions will improve in within 6 months is at a record low, according to the latest Small Business Optimism Index.

Pizzaiola 比薩餐廳在紐約北巴比倫區為招聘侍應生和送貨司機貼出的廣告

April 12, 2022, 5:58 PM CST
By Martha C. White :Martha C. White is an NBC News contributor who writes about business, finance and the economy.
The Pizzaiola pizzeria restaurant advertises for wait staff and delivery drivers, in North Babylon, N.Y.
Small-business owners are more pessimistic about the economy than they have been in decades, according to the Small Business Optimism Index released Tuesday by the National Federation of Independent Business.
The index was down by 2.4 points in March, the third monthly drop in a row. And the percentage of business owners who think things will get better over the next six months fell to the lowest level in the survey’s 48-year history.
Thirty-one percent of owners pointed to inflation as the single biggest problem facing their businesses, up by 5 points from February, the highest reading since the first quarter of 1981.
Rising prices are now regarded as a worse problem than the labor shortage.
“Their outlook has definitely soured over the last three months,” said Holly Wade, the executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business. “They continue to see inflation as this huge obstacle they have to navigate."
And it's getting bigger.

2022 年 4 月 12 日
作者:瑪莎·C·懷特,她是NBC 新聞的撰稿人,撰寫有關商業、金融和經濟的文章。
該指數 3 月下跌 2.4 點,為連續第三個月下跌。認為未來六個月情況會好轉的企業主比例降至該調查 48 年歷史上的最低水平。
“在過去三個月里,他們的前景肯定惡化了,”全國獨立企業聯合會執行董事霍莉韋德說?!八麄兝^續將通脹視為他們必須克服的巨大障礙?!?br /> 而且它越來越高。

The Consumer Price Index, a key measure of the inflation rate, rose to 8.5 percent in March, up from 7.9 percent in February and fueled in large part by rising gas prices, according to data released Tuesday by the Bureau for Labor Statistics.
It is the first time small-business owners have faced such a sustained period of runaway price increases, and the sense of being in uncharted territory contributes to their downbeat expectations, Wade said.
“Most small-business owners have never experienced anything remotely close to this. Very few small businesses that are open now were open in the late ’70s and early ’80s,” she said. “Their profit dollars are being stretched pretty thin right now.”
And in some cases, they're disappearing completely.
Bianca Jackson, who owns BrickRose Exchange, an event space in Baltimore, said her costs for supplies and raw materials have risen “astronomically” since the beginning of the year.

根據美國勞工統計局周二公布的數據,作為衡量通貨膨脹率的關鍵指標,消費者價格指數從 2 月份的 7.9% 上升至 3 月份的 8.5%,這在很大程度上是由于汽油價格上漲。
“大多數小企業主從未經歷過類似的事情。在 70 年代末和 80 年代初,現在開業的小企業很少,”她說?!八麄兊睦麧櫖F在被捉襟見肘了?!?br /> 在某些情況下,它們會完全消失。
擁有巴爾的摩活動空間 BrickRose Exchange 的 Bianca Jackson 表示,自今年年初以來,她的供應和原材料成本“呈天文數字”上升。

In January, she signed a contract to host a small wedding in March. “Even within those two months, there were vast differences between what we quoted and what the actual price was,” she said. Flowers cost double, while decorating supplies and rentals were up by as much as 20 percent.
When the event was over, “I ran all the numbers, and we literally ended up with $25,” Jackson said.
While inflation may have surpassed labor as the biggest headache for business owners, the labor market is holding on as a very close second. Nearly half the business owners responding to the business federation’s survey reported that they had job openings they could not fill in March.
Supply chain problems are not letting up, either. Forty percent of owners said supply chain disruptions have had a significant impact on their businesses, an increase over February.
“There are no lights at the end of the tunnel that they can see yet,” Wade said.

一月份,她簽了一份合同,在三月份舉辦了一場小型婚禮?!凹词乖谶@兩個月內,我們報價的價格與實際價格之間也存在巨大差異,”她說。鮮花成本翻了一番,而裝飾用品和租金上漲了 20%。
活動結束后,“我計算了所有的數字,最終我們就賺了25 美元,”杰克遜說。
雖然通脹可能已經超過勞動力成為企業主最頭疼的問題,但勞動力市場緊隨其后。響應商業聯合會調查的近一半企業主報告說,他們在 3 月份有無法填補的職位空缺。
供應鏈問題也沒有緩解。40% 的業主表示,供應鏈中斷對他們的業務產生了重大影響,比 2 月份有所增加。