Ohio’s small businesses struggle with inflation, labor shortages

The Koch Sporting Goods storefront on Fourth Street in downtown Cincinnati on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020.

It’s been a tough few years for small businesses in Ohio, and owners don’t think things will change anytime soon.

When my association, the National Federation of Independent Business, surveyed its members in Ohio last month, we found that about 60% of them think economic conditions will get worse before they get better.

Perhaps the biggest issue facing high street businesses at the moment is inflation. When we asked our Ohio members, nearly half cited inflation as the biggest issue affecting their family businesses.

Inflation is not a new problem. The whole world has been struggling with this since the summer of 2021, but it has been especially hard for small companies.

Unlike large corporations, small businesses are not sitting on piles of cash. When the cost of everything from raw materials to shipping pallets to shopping bags rises, small businesses can’t afford to absorb the extra costs. They really have no choice but to pass those increases on to their customers, which is one of the factors that has led to the worst inflation we’ve seen in decades.

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