Small business owners in Indiana are worried about inflation but somewhat 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 remains their biggest concern, down about five points from July’s reading, which was the highest since 1979.
The National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Optimism Index rose by 0.6 points last month to 91.9. However, the reading was the 11th straight month above the 49-year average of 98. Most of the survey readings, except for a tight labor market, pointed to a recession or at least weak economic conditions.
“Indiana’s small business economy is improving, but owners are still facing labor shortages across the state. Many employers say finding the right people with the right skills is still a challenge as the new year approaches,” said Natalie Robinson, director of the NFIB’s Indiana state. “It’s especially difficult because small businesses are dealing with inflation that affects the cost of everything from raw materials to their monthly rent.”
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The survey found that a net negative 43% of business owners in Indiana expected better business conditions in the next six months, and 44% said job openings were hard to fill. About 40% of business owners said they have raised wages recently, while 28% plan to in the next few months.
A net 51% of small business owners increased sales prices, and a net minus 8% expected retail sales to be higher, the survey found.
About 55% of business owners made capital expenditures in the past six months, up 1 percent from October. About 39% was spent on new equipment, 19% on vehicles and 12% on new or expanded facilities.
About 24% plan capital spending in the next few months, up one percentage point from October, the Small Business Optimism Index found.
A net minus 7% of small business owners reported higher sales in the past three months. A net negative of 8% expected retail sales to improve, up 5 percentage points but still a weak reading, according to the NFIB.
About 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 a moderate effect and 26% a slight effect.
Only 11% of small business owners said they have not experienced the effects of supply chain disruptions recently.