Arlington Research on Unsplash"/>
Photo by Arlington Research on Unsplash

According to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), small-business confidence improved in the US in February, although many owners continued to experience difficulties finding workers. The Small Business Optimism Index rose 0.6 point to 90.9 last month, making it the 14th consecutive month that the index remained below the 49-year average of 98. Forty-seven percent of owners reported job openings that were hard to fill, with workers being scarce for both skilled and unskilled positions. Labor market reports also show that the labor market remains tight.

The Labor Department stated that there were 1.9 job openings for every unemployed worker in January. According to the NFIB, worker shortages were most acute in the transportation, services, and construction industries, while openings were lowest in the finance sector. Approximately 38% of owners reported raising average selling prices, down four points from January, while the share of owners expecting higher inflation-adjusted sales increased five points to minus 9%. Finally, owners continued to expect poor business conditions over the next six months.

It’s worth noting that this news comes amidst a banking crisis that is likely to impact small business confidence. This could result in tighter regulations and higher compliance costs for small businesses, which could further hinder their recovery.


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