November 27, 2023


Small businesses play a crucial role in the U.S. economy, driving innovation, employment, and economic growth. Monitoring the sentiments and challenges faced by small business owners provides valuable insights into the overall economic landscape. In this blog post, we will analyze data from three prominent surveys conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the Small Business Credit Survey (SBCS), and the Bank of America to gain a comprehensive understanding of the current state of small businesses in the United States.

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index:

The NFIB’s monthly “Small Business Economic Trends” report includes the Small Business Optimism Index, which measures the outlook of small business owners. The May index stood at 89.4, reflecting the 17th consecutive month below the 49-year average of 98. This suggests ongoing concerns among small business owners. The survey considers factors such as employment plans, capital outlays, and expectations for the economy.

Key Concerns of Small Business Owners:

According to the NFIB survey, inflation and labor quality are the primary concerns of small business owners. Approximately 25% of respondents identified inflation as the most significant problem affecting their business operations. Following closely at 24%, labor quality emerged as another significant challenge. These concerns reflect the impact of rising prices and the difficulty in attracting and retaining skilled employees.

SBCS Insights:

The Small Business Credit Survey (SBCS), conducted by all 12 Federal Reserve Banks, offers timely information on small business conditions. From September to December 2022, over 7,800 small businesses responded to the survey. The survey identified key operational challenges, including difficulties in recruiting or retaining employees and supply chain disruptions. The increasing cost of goods, services, and wages was reported as the most common financial challenge faced by small businesses.

Bank of America’s Small Business Owner Report:

The Bank of America’s “2023 Small Business Owner Report” sheds further light on the concerns of business owners. The survey, conducted from March to April 2023, focused on owners of U.S. businesses with annual revenue between $100,000 and $4,999,999 and 2 to 99 employees. The top concerns identified in the report include consumer inflation, recession, and commodity prices. These concerns highlight the potential impact of macroeconomic factors on small businesses.


The surveys conducted by the NFIB, SBCS, and Bank of America provide valuable insights into the challenges and outlook of small businesses in the United States. The data indicates that small business owners continue to face concerns related to inflation, labor quality, supply chain disruptions, and increasing costs. These insights are crucial for policymakers, service providers, lenders, and small business owners themselves to better understand the current economic landscape and make informed decisions.

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