Some consider small businesses to be the lifeblood of the American economy. On Tuesday, we learned that small business owners are more optimistic about the economy than they have been all year, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.

But relative to historical averages, optimism is still low. And that’s kind of the way it’s going for business these days: some roses, some thorns.

The trickiest part of running a small business today? Inflation.

“We see inflation in everything, don’t we?” said Sheena Ezmendez, who runs her own small business, The Well Biz, a consulting firm in Miami.

“Our workers’ comp just went up. They just increased it,” he said. “We also see an increase when it comes to health care. Across the board, we’re seeing it everywhere.

The workers are also getting more salaries. NFIB lead researcher Holliwade said small businesses may be facing a soft labor market, but it’s tight.

“We’re still seeing a very high level of business owners planning to increase compensation,” he said. “And business owners then need to find the best ways to absorb those cost increases.”

Bob Kingery has felt that pressure at his Raleigh-based company, Southern Energy Management, which installs solar panels and makes buildings more energy-efficient.

“For our hourly team members who do our field work over the last three years, we’ve focused a lot on how we’re going to increase their wages, so that they’re in the Triangle area of ​​North Carolina or Can afford to live anywhere in North Carolina, for that matter,” he said.

Kinjeri is overpaying its employees, but it said it is not having trouble hiring overall and has not had to make any major purchases.

“We’re hopeful. It’s rare, rare, rare to feel that way in the world around us,” Kingery said.

And there are signs in Tuesday’s survey that the economy may not be as bad as some business owners feel.

“The hard indicators have been very good. And the soft indicators, people’s expectations and their assessment of the situation, have gone down a lot,” said Liz Wilke, a principal economist at payroll firm Gusto.

He said the gap between how business owners are actually doing and how they feel about the future is growing.

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