COVID-19 Survey: Economic Strides but Inflation and Staffing Shortages Hold Main Street Back

Date: January 05, 2023

Survey finds inflation and staffing shortages are still challenges for small businesses owners

In a survey of small business owners published this week by the NFIB Research Center, inflation and staffing shortages continue to challenge small businesses as they attempt to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. This survey was conducted from December 8 – 12 and is the 23rd survey in the series with 456 responses collected.

The report includes updates on sales levels, the economy, supply chain disruptions, staffing shortages, prices, interest rates, the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), paid leave, payments, and more.  

“The small business economy is recovering from the pandemic, but they continue to manage other economic headwinds,” said Holly Wade, Executive Director of NFIB’s Research Center. “With historic inflation, ongoing staffing shortages, and supply chain disruptions, owners are working hard to get back to pre-crisis economic levels.”

Some key findings from the survey include:

  • Most small business owners reported that their local economy remains below pre-crisis levels of economic activity.
  • Almost half (46%) of small business owners have increased their average selling prices specifically because of supplies and inventory inflation.
  • Twenty percent of small employers are currently experiencing a significant staffing shortage and another 25% are currently experiencing a moderate shortage.
  • Seven percent of owners reported they increased their average selling prices specifically due to higher compensation related to staffing shortages.

This publication marks NFIB’s 23rd Small Business COVID-19 survey assessing the health crisis impact on small business operations, economic conditions, and utilization of the targeted small business loan programs. The first series was published in early March 2020. The full survey of the 23rd edition is available here.

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