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Economic Report: Small businesses say high inflation is enemy No. 1 for the first time since 1981

High inflation is enemy No. 1 for the first time since 1981, small businesses say.

Some 22% of small-business owners said inflation is their top problem, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. That’s the biggest share in 41 years.

The yearly pace of U.S. inflation likely crossed the 7% mark in December, based on the consumer price index. The last time that happened was in early 1982.

The CPI report comes out Wednesday.

Yet even as they struggle with high prices, small businesses also said they were slightly more optimistic. The NFIB’s small-business optimism index rose 0.5 points to a three-month high of 98.9.

High inflation overtook labor shortages as the biggest headache for small businesses, but finding good help is still very difficult. Nearly half of all owners said they could not fill open jobs despite a record number increasing pay.

“Small businesses unfortunately saw a disappointing December jobs report, with staffing issues continuing to impact their ability to be fully productive,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg.

“Inflation is at the highest level since the 1980s and is having an overwhelming impact on owners’ ability to manage their businesses.”

The yield on the 10-year Treasury TMUBMUSD10Y, 1.756% on Monday reached the highest level since January 17, 2020, in anticipation of Federal Reserve tightening as early as March.

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