Ongoing concerns about inflation, efforts to improve the Small Business Administration’s resources, worker trends, and the start of Connecticut’s legislative session are among the top business news items from the past week.
Continuing inflation concerns
The consumer price index for January shows a 7.5 percent increase in consumer prices and a 6 percent rise in core inflation, the highest levels since 1982. The ongoing inflationary pressure is increasing the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will begin raising rates next month.
The National Federation of Independent Business says inflation continues to trouble small business owners, with a January poll showing 22 percent identifying it as their top problem and a net 61 percent increasing their average selling prices. Inflation is also driving retailers to change their prices more frequently to respond to higher costs.
Bolstered SBA resources
The Small Business Administration has updated its Ascent e-learning platform with a new Journey 6 component, which is designed to educate women entrepreneurs looking to get involved in government contracting.
The House Small Business Committee has approved five bills aimed at improving the SBA’s entrepreneurial development programs. The legislation looks to reauthorize or expand existing programs such as Small Business Development Centers and SCORE, create a resource for small business compliance guides for each federal agency, and expand the SBA’s Office of Advocacy efforts to include international economic issues.
Temp workers and falling joblessness
Businesses that have seen elevated quits, including food processors and retailers, are increasingly turning to temporary workers to stay adequately staffed. Initial jobless claims fell for the third straight week last week, dropping to 223,000.
Connecticut legislative season opens
Connecticut’s legislative session has opened, with Governor Ned Lamont offering a budget that includes tax cuts as well as financial aid to entrepreneurs. The Connecticut Business & Industry Association has criticized Lamont’s tax plan, saying it falls short of addressing critical issues facing small businesses.