Small businesses say high inflation is enemy No. 1 for the first time since 1981

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High inflation is enemy No. 1 for the first time since 1981, say small businesses.

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According to the National Federation of Independent Business, about 22% of small-business owners said inflation is their top problem. This is the largest stake in 41 years.

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The annual pace of US inflation, based on the Consumer Price Index, crossed the 7% mark in December. The last time that happened was in early 1982.

The CPI’s report came on Wednesday.

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Yet even as they struggle with higher prices, small businesses also said they were a little more optimistic. The NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index rose 0.5 points to a three-month high of 98.9.

High inflation overtook labor shortages as the biggest headache for small businesses, but getting good help is still very difficult. Nearly half of all bosses said they could not fill open jobs despite a record number of pay increases.

“Unfortunately small businesses saw a disappointing December jobs report, with staffing issues continuing to impact their ability to be fully productive,” said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist at NFIB.

“Inflation is at its highest level since the 1980s and is having a huge impact on the ability of owners to manage their businesses.”

Yield on 10 Year Treasury TMUBMUSD10Y,
1.758%
Anticipation of the Federal Reserve’s tightening in early March rose on Monday to the highest level since January 17, 2020.

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