The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index decreased half of a point in September to 90.8. September marks the 21st consecutive month that optimism among small business owners is below the 49-year average of 98.
23% of small business owners said that inflation was their biggest problem, trying labor quality as the top concern.
“Small business owners are fed up with lawmaker’s inability to pass meaningful tax reform. This year, they had the opportunity to reduce income taxes, which would help small business owners battle inflation and reinvest in their business. Instead, it took legislators six months to reach a compromise on the state’s budget that instead, handed out one time rebate checks, said Julia Hammond, NFIB State Director in Virginia.
Small business owners have a critical opportunity to elect pro-small business candidates who will listen to their problems and concerns. Today’s survey reinforces the fact that the top two small business problems: inflation and job openings that do not attract any qualified candidates – aren’t going away.
NFIB surveyed candidates running for state Senate and House of Delegates and then the NIFB Virginia PAC endorsed those who support small business issues such as tax reform and removing red tape from government regulations.
Last week, NFIB’s Road Team visited 146 small businesses across the state, encouraging owners to vote and reminding them of the importance of their voice in November’s election. Small business owners are voting for candidates who will enact policies that strengthen Virginia’s economy, not make our state a more difficult place to do business.”
You can find a list of all the NFIB endorsed candidates here. You can find our voter guide here. Election Day in Virginia is November 7.
Key findings in the Optimism index include:
- Small business owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months deteriorated six points from August to a net negative 43%
- 43% percent of owners reported job openings that were hard to fill, up three points from August and remaining historically high as owners can’t hire enough workers due to few qualified applicants.
- 23% plan to raise compensation in the next three months, down three points from August.
- The net percentage of owners raising average selling prices increased two points to 29%, still a very inflationary level.
According to NFIB’s jobs report, 43% (seasonally adjusted) of all small business owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up three points from August. Owners’ plans to fill open positions remain elevated, with a seasonally adjusted net 18% planning to create new jobs in the next three months.
Fifty-seven percent of owners reported capital outlays in the last six months. Of those making expenditures, 41% reported spending on new equipment, 22% acquired vehicles, and 17% improved or expanded facilities. Twelve percent of owners spent money on new fixtures and furniture and 7% acquired new buildings or land for expansion. Twenty-four percent of owners plan capital outlays in the next few months.
A net negative 8% of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, up six points from August’s lowest reading since August 2020. The net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes improved one point to a net negative 13%.