Inflation, Labor Shortage Continue to Drag Optimism Index Down

Date: March 08, 2022

Arizona comment on today’s release of the monthly Small Business Economic Trends report

Contact: Chad Heinrich, Arizona State Director, [email protected]
or Tony Malandra, Senior Media Manager, [email protected]

PHOENIX, March 8, 2022—Inflation continued to be a small-business owners’ top worry for the second month in a row, but only slightly unchanged from its record highs also is the burden of finding qualified employees, according to today’s release of the latest Small Business Economic Trends Report (aka the Optimism Index) from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation’s leading small-business association

Among the various findings in today’s Optimism Index, forty-eight percent of owners reported job opening that could not be filled, an increase of one point from January.

“Arizona small business owners are desperately looking for qualified employees but are also challenged to find motivated employees following the governmental response to the pandemic,” said Chad Heinrich, Arizona state director for NFIB. “Even with starting pay greatly higher than the state’s minimum wage of $12.80 per hour, plus benefits and paid leave, many businesses are being squeezed by the labor shortage and a lack of motivated workforce. This is on top of the additional challenges they are facing with increased regulatory burdens and some negative consumer perceptions due to the impact of high inflation prices for many goods.”

The Optimism Index is a national snapshot not broken down by state. Other key findings include:

  • The net percent of owners raising average selling prices increased seven points to a net 68% (seasonally adjusted), a 48-year record high reading. 
  • Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months decreased two points to a net negative 35%. 
  • Inventory accumulation plans fell one percentage point, following a five-point decline in January, following the massive inventory build in Q4.

From NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg

“Inflation continues to be a problem on Main Street, leading more owners to raise selling prices again in February. Supply chain disruptions and labor shortages also remain problems, leading to lower earnings and sales for many.”

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Read this news release on the NFIB Arizona webpage

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For 78 years, NFIB has been advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven association. Since its founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses and remains so today. For more information, please visit

NFIB Arizona
Twitter: @NFIB_AZ

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