Record number of small business owners across the U.S. raise prices in March, all as sentiment plummets.
The number of U.S. small business owners raising average selling prices in March increased four percentage points to a seasonally adjusted net 72%, the highest reading in the National Federation of Independent Business survey’s history.
Price hikes were the most frequent in wholesale (84% higher, 0% lower), construction (83% higher, 3% lower), agriculture (78% higher, 2% lower), and retail sales (77% higher, 2% lower), the survey showed. A net 50% of owners plan future price hikes, up four points from February.
The survey released Tuesday also showed small business owners expecting worsening business conditions, with sentiment cratering. Those expecting better business conditions over the next six months dropped 14ppts to a net negative 49%, the lowest level recorded in the NFIB's 48-year-old survey. The NFIB's Optimism Index decreased in March by 2.4ppts to 93.2, the third consecutive month below the 48-year average of 98.