Inflation continues to loom over the heads of small business owners, even as government data suggests a drop-in inflation rates. But according to the Freedom Economy Index (FEI), a recent survey conducted by RedBalloon.work and PublicSq, of over 50,000 small businesses, showed that 91.7% of respondents "strongly agree" that inflation remains a significant problem, and government figures do not accurately reflect its ongoing impact.
RedBalloon CEO, Andrew Crapuchettes, said “That’s a huge number, and clearly there’s a lot of lingering pain from last year’s inflation spike. While government inflation gauges are falling, the small business community is not feeling any relief.”
Another staggering 70.6% of the surveyed small business owners listed inflation as a major ongoing challenge to their businesses. This perception starkly contrasts with official government reports that suggest a more optimistic outlook.
Government-created roadblocks also ranked high among the challenges faced by small businesses. Notably, 53% of respondents cited government regulations as a "major challenge," 68% pointed to high taxes, and a significant 77% expressed "lack of confidence in elected leaders" as a hurdle to their success.
These concerns have led to a notable shift in sentiment within the small business community over the past month.
Optimism about the future of the US economy has dropped by nearly 6% since the previous survey in July. Furthermore, there has been a 10% increase in the number of respondents who believe the country is heading into a "major recession."
In terms of overall sentiment, a significant 91.6% of respondents feel that the United States is on the "wrong track," and a striking 95.6% believe that President Joe Biden's handling of the economy has been "harmful," marking a 9% increase from July.
A key insight gleaned from these numbers is the distrust among small businesses owners and America at large do not trust the current Admin's handling of the US economy, or their policies for future growth.
Read the full Freedom Economy Index here.