By Nihad Ahmed


Confidence among small-business owners in the U.S. rose in July, reflecting improved expectations about business conditions, but still it remained below the 48-year average of 98.

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index climbed to 89.9 in July from 89.5 the previous month, according to data from a survey released Tuesday by the National Federation of Independent Business.

Economists expected the index to come in at 89.5, according to a poll carried out by The Wall Street Journal.

Of the 10 index components, four increased and six decreased.

Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months increased nine points from June's record low level to a net-negative 52%. The sub-component recorded the biggest rise.

Inflation remained a key concern, however, with 37% of small business owners reporting it as their single most important problem in operating their business, an increase of three points from June and the highest level since the fourth quarter of 1979.

"The uncertainty in the small-business sector is climbing again as owners continue to manage historic inflation, labor shortages, and supply chain disruptions," said Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB Chief Economist.

"As we move into the second half of 2022, owners will continue to manage their businesses into a very uncertain future."


Write to Nihad Ahmed at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 09, 2022 06:45 ET (10:45 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.