SMALL BUSINESS SNAPSHOT
Washington, May 15, 2023
As we reach the halfway point of May, small businesses are continuing to struggle to keep pace with persistent labor shortages and stubbornly high inflation. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) data released last week showed inflation barely budged at 4.9 percent, slightly down from 5 percent from the month prior. Core CPI, which excludes the more volatile measurements of food and energy, remained largely unchanged at 5.5 percent. With this persistent inflation, real weekly wages decreased 1.1 percent year-over-year. The data is still a long way from the Federal Reserve’s goal of 2 percent inflation as it remains a top concern for Main Street America. While small businesses continue to deal with the effects of inflation, they are also struggling to find skilled workers to staff and grow their businesses. Both these issues have resulted in U.S. small business confidence falling to a 10-year low, according to the National Federal of Independent Business (NFIB) monthly Small Business Optimism Index, confirming the economic malaise many Main Street businesses are feeling. In addition, with the recent bank failures, community lending continues to come under renewed stress, especially as the Federal Reserve continues hiking interest rates at the fastest pace since the 1980s. Altogether, despite what President Biden may say about his administration’s handling of the economy and with his and Congressional Democrats’ $2.6 trillion in partisan spending, Main Street America remains pessimistic about the long-term small business economy.
The below May 2023 Small Business Snapshot features numbers and updates to provide more insight into the current small business economy.
MAIN STREET MEASUREMENTS: