Utah small business owners share same concerns as national cohorts

Dec 11, 2023, 4:00 PM | Updated: 4:57 pm

A sign reading “Now hiring” is on the window of Vessel Kitchen, utah minimum wage is at center ...

A sign reading “Now hiring” is on the window of Vessel Kitchen in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 3, 2023. (Megan Nielsen/Deseret News)

(Megan Nielsen/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Ask a small business owner how they’re feeling about the business climate right now and the answer is lukewarm. But most say they are feeling better today than they did a year ago.

Overall, optimism has declined over the last three months according to the September NFIB Small Business Optimism Index. The report shows that optimism decreased by one-half point in September.

According to the Business Journals report, the top three worries for business owners are inflation, quality of labor, and taxes.

Poor sales, interest rates, and insurance were also of concern to small business owners in the NFIB report.

The state of small business optimism in Utah

Small business owners in Utah seem to be worried about the same things as business owners nationwide.

“Inflation is a top concern because it permeates everything,” said Derek Miller, the President and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. 

In June 2023, the Consumer Price Index showed that annual inflation across the country had slowed to 3%. Inflation was at 9.1% in June 2022.

In Utah, inflation continues to cool down

Another concern is the quality of the workforce Miller said. “Workforce, still a top concern, with the cost of doing business inherent in that (taxes and regulation.)

“Immigration has to be part of the solution,” Miller said. “The Chamber, we are strong proponents for increasing pathways for legal immigration so that we can fill those jobs, particularly in the areas of agriculture, healthcare, and hospitality.

The issue of workforce has been a perennial problem, Miller said, for small business owners in Utah. 

“Even before the pandemic,” Miller said. “Especially in a place like Utah where our economy is so hot and growing so quickly.”

Miller said there are 100,000 unfilled jobs in Utah right now. He said employers are having a difficult time finding people at all, let alone people with the skills the employer needs.

“These are all the concerns that we hear about from small businesses across the state.”



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Utah small business owners share same concerns as national cohorts