The federal reserve raised interest rates to their highest level in 22 years, putting additional strains on business owners nationwide. On today’s episode of U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Update, Tom Sullivan, the Vice President of Small Business Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, brings us up to speed and tells us how this will impact small businesses.
Many people might be surprised to learn that small businesses are doing remarkably well in the current economy despite rising interest rates, inflation, and a lack of qualified workers. Small businesses are facing the headwinds of inflation, which has been the top concern for SMBs over the past six consecutive quarters. Still, they remain optimistic. While Wall Street has reflected that inflation is dropping, we haven’t seen the same figures on main street, although “it’s coming,” notes Sullivan.
The latest Small Business Survey shows that 47% of small businesses plan on adding employees later this year. This reveals an increase of ten points higher than at the beginning of the year and is at its highest level in the past five years.
Although the industry requires additional workers, finding those qualified and motivated individuals on Main Street “remains difficult,” says Sullivan. Even if hiring presents difficulties, SMBs are committed to expanding their employees over the coming years. However, businesses remain hesitant around the “What if’s” that include: “What if we can’t get more employees? What if interest rates stay high indefinitely, and what if the onslaught of regulations from Washington makes it harder for businesses to succeed.” Furthermore, Sullivan adds, “My daily struggle at work is tackling those what if’s.”
Even though supply chains are improving, the uncertainty of operating conditions may result in other union strikes or threats, like the frequent ones we have seen. Sullivan emphasizes, “Every business, regardless of size, relies on certainty. And here at the Commerce, we’re calling on Congress to guarantee that.”