(Natural News) A new report from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) has shown that many businesses are struggling to find people to fill job vacancies despite the increasing number of unemployed Americans.
This suggests that more and more people are trying to find more lucrative offers amid the highest inflation in America since the 1980s. Consumer prices went up by as high as 9.1 percent year-over-year in June – the largest increase in 40 years.
The NFIB noted that small business owners’ confidence in the American economy has declined amid worsening short-term expectations and deteriorating economic outlook caused by fears of a recession. (Related: Over a third of small businesses failed to pay rent on time or in full in October.)
The NFIB’s small business optimism index fell to 91.3 in October from 92.1 in September, dipping far below the historical average of 98 points.
“Owners continue to show a dismal view about future sales growth and business conditions, but are still looking to hire new workers,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Inflation, supply chain disruptions and labor shortages continue to limit the ability of many small businesses to meet the demand for their products and services.”
According to the survey, 33 percent of small business owners reported that inflation was the single most important issue hampering the operation of their businesses. This is up three points from September’s reading and is the highest share since the fourth quarter of 1979.
Federal Reserve interest rate hikes hampering business growth
The Federal Reserve’s current interest rates range between 3.75 percent to four percent, up from near-zero at the beginning of the year. The massive rise in interest rates is causing more small business owners to expect real sales to decrease massively compared with the previous months.
“Success for the Federal Reserve is bad news for small businesses,” said Dunkelberg. “Sales will fall, costs will be sticky, so profits will take a hit. Rough times ahead.”
Given the Fed’s relentless interest rate hikes, the number of small business owners to plan to hire more workers in the next three months has fallen by 20 percent. The survey further showed 46 percent of small business owners reporting job openings that they could not fill. Small businesses in the transportation, construction and manufacturing sectors are struggling the most to hire new employees.
A different jobs report from the NFIB, separate from the small business optimism report, noted that 90 percent of business owners that are currently hiring reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions.
Government data released earlier this month showed 10.7 million job openings on the last day of September. This represents a 437,000 increase and is higher than the forecasted 10.0 million job vacancies for that month.
Last week, Fed Chair Jerome Powell signaled that the central bank may slow the pace of its interest rate hikes as early as its next policy meeting on Dec. 13 and 14, but has ruled out stopping rate hikes or even lowering them altogether.
Furthermore, rate hikes are expected to go on for longer, with rates ultimately ending higher than previously thought.
If Powell and the Fed continue with this, small business owner confidence in the American economy will likely drop even further, and more owners will be unable to find employees to fill current job openings.
Learn more about the state of the American economy at MarketCrash.news.
Watch this clip from Fox Business featuring billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis discussing how food and energy inflation will impact Americans.
More related stories: