Ohio Small Businesses Express Inflation and Staffing Concerns in 2023

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The National Federation of Independent Business in Ohio’s latest survey shows owners believe inflation and labor will remain challenging in the upcoming year.

“While Ohio entrepreneurs are seeing an improvement in the supply chain, record-high inflation and staffing shortages continue to weigh them down as they look to maintain and grow their businesses,” said Roger Geiger, NFIB executive director.

The survey of NFIB owners throughout the state said 61% believe economic conditions will be worse or much worse six months from now, while only 36% predict improvement.

When asked to rank their single most important problem facing their small businesses, 48% say inflation, followed by staffing shortages at 28% and supply chain disruptions at 11%.

Nearly three quarters of all small-business owners, 73%, were forced to raise selling prices in the past three months due to higher costs, while 72% expect additional price increases in the next three months.

For those seeking employees, 47% said they are not getting enough qualified applicants to fill vacancies, while 27% did not need to hire anyone over the past three months. Ohio hiring difficulties were similar to those across the country as the latest national NFIB Small Business Optimism Index shows 44% of business owners nationwide claim positions were difficult to fill in November.

The Ohio survey also reported 36% of NFIB members in the state plan to add staff in the first three months of 2023, while 48% plan to maintain current levels and only 4% intend to reduce staff. The remaining business owners taking the survey said they have no employees.

For those with employees, 49% of owners increased wages in the past three months, while 37% have not. Of those increasing wages, 23% reported an increase of between 1% and 5%, while 16% increased wages between 6% and 10%.

Additionally, 48% expect to increase wages in the first three months of the new year, with 29% of those planning an increase between 1% and 5%.

Finally, 72% report at least some of their positions do not require a college or advanced degree.

“With small-business owners in our state being heavily reliant on non-degreed employees, Ohio’s education system must see reform, and soon,” Geiger said. “A greater emphasis needs to be placed on technical and skilled trades, and we need to break down the barriers individuals face in the state licensure process. There are plenty of opportunities to earn a great living without a degree in Ohio. We look forward to working with the Ohio legislature and the [Gov. Mike] DeWine administration in the coming year to increase opportunities for more Ohioans to do just that.”

The NFIB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, member-driven organization founded in 1943, which is dedicated to providing a voice for small businesses.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.