Dr. Cog not offering the right prescription for an ailing small business outlook
DENVER, Sept. 13, 2022—Today’s release of the National Federation of Independent Business’s monthly Small Business Economic Trends (SBET) report (aka the Optimism Index) showed optimism rising 1.9 points to 91.8.
Before anyone thinks that finding is worth popping champagne corks over, Tony Gagliardi, the Colorado state director for NFIB, said celebratory gestures should remain on ice. “That anemic rise aside, the latest Index findings make it the eighth consecutive month below the 48-year average of 98. A blip is not a bounce.”
Gagliardi said a confluence of international, national, and state problems have all contributed to this historic run of small-business pessimism, including the recent call by the Denver Regional Council of Governments (Dr. Cog) for a halt to the building and widening of roads and development of lands. “Small-business owners always have an ear tuned to the potential conditions that will affect their enterprises. Telling them the government would like to constrict their ability to deliver their goods and their employees’ ability to get to work is a tone-deaf message to send to Main Street enterprises. Additionally, septuagenarians are not going to pedal their bikes to their doctors’ appointments no matter how well paved a “multimodal” transportation infrastructure is in place.”
The nation’s bellwether measurement of the Main Street economy since 1973, the SBET is a poll of NFIB-member, small-business owners. Sixty percent of NFIB-member small businesses employ between one and five workers. Add firms employing six to nine workers and the percentage grows to 74%.
From NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg
“The small business economy is still recovering from the pandemic while inflation continues to be a serious problem for owners across the nation. Owners are managing the rising costs of utilities, fuel, labor, supplies, materials, rent, and inventory to protect their earnings. The worker shortage is impacting small business productivity as owners raise compensation to attract better workers.”
Key findings in today SBET/Optimism Index report include:
- Small business owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months improved 10 points from July to a net negative 42%, the highest level since February 2022, but a dismal outlook.
- The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased three points to a net 53% (seasonally adjusted), still a very inflationary outcome.
- The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher increased 10 points from July to a net negative 19%, but owners still want to hire.
- The Uncertainty Index increased seven points to 74.
Keep up with the latest Colorado small-business news at www.nfib.com/colorado or by following NFIB on Twitter @NFIB_CO or on Facebook @NFIB.CO
For nearly 80 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.com.
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