A new report on small business optimism has been released and the news isn’t good.

In fact, it’s terrible.

The National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Optimism Index dropped 3.6 points last month to 89.5.

Eileen Kean the NFIB New Jersey state director said small business expectations for future conditions continue to sink.

Main Street struggling in NJ

"It’s a dismal index in that it is the worst ratings we’ve seen on over a decade. Small business optimism remains extremely low and continues to deflate,” she said.

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She said businesses on Main Street continue to struggle for a number of reasons.

“Whether it’s supply chain issues, getting employees, gasoline prices, and to top it all off we have inflation that we’re all feeling and we’re all seeing,” she said.

Inflation tops the list

The survey found 34% of business owners reported inflation was the single most important problem in operating their business, an increase of 6 points from May and the highest level since the 4th quarter in 1980.

“The inflation is starting to have an impact, shopping is slowing and it’s just a spiraling all-around dismal time for small businesses," Kean said.

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She said that is producing a lot of “fear and worry, and that’s not good because when we walk around our neighborhoods we do see empty storefronts.”

As a result of this climate, businesses are putting their expansion or renovation plans on hold.

The index is based on discussions with a cross-section of business owners.

Key findings of the report include:

— The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher decreased 13 points from May to a net negative 28%, a severe decline.

— 50% of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, down one point from May, but historically very high.

— The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased three points to a net 69% seasonally adjusted, following May’s record high reading.

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Beautiful sunflower fields to visit in NJ 2022

Among reasons why the “Garden State” remains a fitting nickname for New Jersey — late summer means the arrival of sunflower season.

There are at least six fields, spanning the state. Some are in bloom as of early August, while others are planned to peak from late August to late September.

Calling or emailing before heading out is always advisable if weather appears to be an issue. 

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