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U.S. small business sentiment edges up in September – NFIB – Reuters

ByINVESTOR

Oct 11, 2022

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Oct 11 (Reuters) – U.S. small-business confidence improved in September as labor shortages eased slightly but concerns about inflation remained and fewer owners were optimistic about the outlook for the economy, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said its Small Business Optimism Index increased 0.3 points to 92.1 this month, the second straight month of gains following a deterioration in the first half of this year.

Thirty percent of owners reported that inflation was their single most important issue in operating their business, up one point from August but seven points down from July’s reading, which was the highest share since the fourth quarter of 1979.

The U.S. Federal Reserve has raised interest rates from near-zero at the beginning of this year to a current range of 3.00% to 3.25% as it battles to quash stubbornly high inflation. Fed policymakers, expected to deliver another 75 basis-point hike at the central bank’s next meeting in November, have warned of economic pain as they seek to dampen demand to help curb price increases.

The share of owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months fell two points last month from August to a negative 44%, way above the pre-pandemic trend even as the NFIB’s Uncertainty Index declined two points to 72 in September.

The survey also showed 46% of owners reported job openings they could not fill last month, down three points from August. That tallies with government data released last week that showed 10.1 million job openings on the last day of August, still historically high but the biggest drop in nearly 2-1/2 years.

Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir, Editing by Ed Osmond

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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