Recently, the KFBP Board spoke with small business owners who are increasingly worried about sales numbers, filling current job openings, and profit margins. According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the Small Business Optimism Index decreased below 98, the 48-year average, for six consecutive months. Small businesses are not expecting better business conditions in the next 6 months either. That index fell to an all-time low! So, why is that?
In a word…inflation! The increasing wholesale supply prices and labor rates are causing some small business to pass or at least consider passing those costs onto their consumers. Some restaurants are changing menus because their patrons won’t tolerate the increased costs of some of the beef and seafood entrees. Mom-and-pop restaurants are also being hit with lackluster enthusiasm from potential new hires who don’t want to work nights or weekends, exactly the time when most restaurants are busiest. Those workers are looking for jobs with higher income and less demanding schedules. In order to entice new employees, small businesses like restaurants, construction, and retail are forced to increase minimum salaries. So, where do these small businesses turn?
Fear not! On Friday the House of Representatives is expected to pass the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and send it to the President’s desk for signing. Neither the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Wharton Budget Model nor Moody’s Analytics believe that this law will do much in the next two years to help curb the 9.1% inflation which is crushing consumers and small businesses.
Of course, our elected officials disagree with the above-referenced experts. Perhaps our representatives in Washington aren’t struggling like our communities and businesses are, blinding them from seeing our immediate needs as opposed to their long-term agendas.
As G. K. Chesterton wrote, “It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.”
We are trying to make sure that they see and understand the problems. Join us in that mission!