Montana Comment on Today’s Economic Trends Poll

Date: December 14, 2021

42-year high in percentage of small-business owners raising prices highlights NFIB’s SBET

Contact: Ronda Wiggers, Montana State Director, [email protected]
or Tony Malandra, Senior Media Manager, [email protected]

HELENA, Mont., Dec. 14, 2021—Today’s release on the nation’s bellwether measurement of its small-business economy raised more than a few eyebrows over the spike in one of its 10 components—the 6% increase in the net percentage of small-business owners raising their selling prices, the highest reading since October 1979.

Other key findings included:

  • Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months decreased one point to a net negative 38%, tied for the 48-year record low reading. This indicator has declined 18 points over the past four months to its lowest reading since November 2012. 
  • Seasonally adjusted, a net 54% of owners plan price hikes, up three points from October and a 48-year record high reading. 
  • Forty-eight percent of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, a decrease of one point from October.

“As the end of the year nears, the outlook for business conditions is not encouraging to small business owners as lawmakers propose additional mandates and tax increases,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Owners are also pessimistic as many continue managing challenges like rampant inflation and supply chain disruptions that are impacting their businesses right now.”

Here in Montana, Ronda Wiggers, NFIB’s state director, said, “To the extent states have a role in economies, ours has done nothing to exacerbate any harmful effects while putting in place policies that cushion the blow. We’ve kept taxes and regulations low and didn’t need to borrow from the feds to shore up our unemployment insurance trust fund. Right now, our biggest worry is what Congress will do with the Build Back Better Act. That’s why it was very encouraging to see Senator Tester break ranks with the Biden administration to vote in favor of Senate Joint Resolution 29 last week. The resolution disapproves of the Biden administration’s vaccine and testing mandates. Now, if he can help stop some of the small-business-harmful elements of the Build Back Better Act, he will have the long-lasting gratitude of Montana’s Main Street, mom-and-pop enterprises.”

Released on the second Tuesday of every month, the NFIB Research Foundation has collected Small Business Economic Trends data with quarterly surveys since 1974 and monthly surveys since 1986. Survey respondents are drawn from NFIB’s membership. Today’s survey was conducted in November. The data are a national snapshot not broken down by state.

“Small businesses optimism is rising as the economy opens up, yet a record number of employers continue to report that there are few or no qualified applicants for open positions. Owners are also having a hard time keeping their inventory stocks up with strong sales and supply chain problems.”

Keep up with the latest on Montana small business at and on Twitter @NFIB_MT.


For more than 77 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

National Federation of Independent Business/Montana
491 South Park Ave.
Helena, MT 59601
Twitter: @NFIB_MT

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