By Alice Seeley

Small business owner confidence fell for the fifth month in a row in May, hitting the lowest point ever recorded, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

NFIB reported on June 14 that its Small Business Optimism Index declined by 0.1 points in May to 93.1. The number of small business owners anticipating business conditions to improve over the next six months also dropped four points to a net negative 54%. 

This is the lowest level in the index’s 48-year history. 

According to the index, the biggest challenge small business owners face is inflation. Twenty-eight percent of small business owners cited the 40-year high inflation as their main concern.

Small business owners who increased their average selling prices also reached a new record of 72%, 32 points higher than May 2021. The NFIB survey also revealed that 51% of businesses could not fill job openings despite 46% of small business owners offering higher wages to employees. 

The survey also showed that small business owners are still dealing with supply chain issues, as 39% of small business owners reported that supply chain disruptions significantly impacted their business, up three points from the previous month. Another 31% of small business owners reported that supply chain problems had a moderate impact and 22% reported a mild impact. Only 8% of small business owners claimed they had no impact from the recent supply chain disruptions.