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.

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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.
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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:玛莎·C·怀特,她是NBC 新闻的撰稿人,撰写有关商业、金融和经济的文章。
该指数 3 月下跌 2.4 点,为连续第三个月下跌。认为未来六个月情况会好转的企业主比例降至该调查 48 年历史上的最低水平。

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.

根据美国劳工统计局周二公布的数据,作为衡量通货膨胀率的关键指标,消费者价格指数从 2 月份的 7.9% 上升至 3 月份的 8.5%,这在很大程度上是由于汽油价格上涨。
“大多数小企业主从未经历过类似的事情。在 70 年代末和 80 年代初,现在开业的小企业很少,”她说。“他们的利润现在被捉襟见肘了。”
拥有巴尔的摩活动空间 BrickRose Exchange 的 Bianca Jackson 表示,自今年年初以来,她的供应和原材料成本“呈天文数字”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,她签了一份合同,在三月份举办了一场小型婚礼。“即使在这两个月内,我们报价的价格与实际价格之间也存在巨大差异,”她说。鲜花成本翻了一番,而装饰用品和租金上涨了 20%。
活动结束后,“我计算了所有的数字,最终我们就赚了25 美元,”杰克逊说。
虽然通胀可能已经超过劳动力成为企业主最头疼的问题,但劳动力市场紧随其后。响应商业联合会调查的近一半企业主报告说,他们在 3 月份有无法填补的职位空缺。
供应链问题也没有缓解。40% 的业主表示,供应链中断对他们的业务产生了重大影响,比 2 月份有所增加。