Small Business Inflation Metrics Hit Highest Since 1981

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A record share of small businesses say they are raising prices, data released Tuesday showed.

The National Federation of Independent Business said that the net percent of small businesses that have raised prices rose seven points to 47 percent, the highest seasonally adjusted inflation since 1981.

Five percent reported lower average selling prices, unchanged from a month ago, on an unadjusted basis.  Fifty-four percent reported higher average prices, up an unadjusted six points.

Seasonally adjusted, a net 44 percent plan price hikes, up 1 point.

“The incidence of price hikes on Main Street is clearly on the rise as owners pass on rising labor and operating costs to their customers,” the NFIB said in its report. “The Fed will start worrying about inflation as Main Street continues to raise selling prices, pushing the inflation measures up,” the NFIB said.

Finding qualified workers also remains a challenge for businesses.

“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,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Owners are also having a hard time keeping their inventory stocks up with strong sales and supply chain problems.”

Forty-six percent of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, a decrease of two points from May but still historically high and above the 48-historical average of 22%. Small employers have plans to fill open positions, job creation plans over the next three months rose to a net 28%, up one point.

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