NFIB Survey: Taxes a Top Problem for Business

May 12, 2015

The National Federation of Independent Business released its latest survey data on the sentiment of small business owners. The results are always worth a look. I wouldn't recommend taking every opinion in it as gospel; business owners are but one type of contributor to the economy, and the perspectives of others are valuable in understanding the economy as well. But it has many great, long-running data series on the perspectives of business owners.

Unsurprisingly, taxes are unpopular:

It's interesting to see the other components change with time. During strong job markets, such as 2005, where employment is high, businesses struggle to find new top talent. A lot of the best talent is already employed. In weaker job markets, like 2010, it's easier to hire talented workers, but lagging sales are a problem. When people don't have jobs, they don't have money to pay for products. Simple enough.

Interest rates are usually not considered a big problem, except around 1981, when the Federal Reserve had raised interest rates to slay inflation.

However, taxes remain a persistently strong choice for biggest problem, regardless of year. Business cycles come and go, but taxes are forever.

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