NFIB Weekly News
Leading the News
Labor quality remains a problem for owners looking to hire
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 1, 2022) – Small business owners continue to hire, but 49% (seasonally adjusted) of owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period.
“The labor market continues to be a significant challenge for small business owners,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Owners are managing several economic headwinds and continue to make business adjustments to mitigate lost sales opportunities due to staffing shortages. Almost half of owners are raising compensation to attract workers for their open positions.”
Small business owners’ plans to fill open positions remain elevated, with a seasonally adjusted net 21% planning to create new jobs in the next three months, up one point from July.
A net 46% (seasonally adjusted) reported raising compensation, down two points from July and four points below the record high set in January. A net 26% plan to raise compensation in the next three months.
Overall, 63% of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in August. Of those trying to hire, 89% of owners reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Thirty-one percent of owners reported few qualified applicants for their open positions and 26% reported none.
Read more here
NFIB Files Brief at Supreme Court Concerning Federal Regulation Violations
NFIB calls on Court to apply lenity to civil penalty prosecutions
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 23, 2022) – NFIB filed an amicus brief in the case Alexandru Bittner v. United States of America at the United States Supreme Court. The case concerns the Bank Secrecy Act and whether a violation under the Act is the failure to file an annual Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, or whether there is a separate violation for each individual account that was not reported.
“Small business owners are continually complying with various federal regulations in operating their business,” said Beth Milito, NFIB Senior Executive Counsel. “The penalties for violating these regulations can be extremely severe and potentially devastate small businesses that had good intentions to comply. Small businesses would benefit from applying lenity to civil penalty prosecutions. NFIB urges the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the lower court’s decision.”
The brief argues three main points: 1) lenity should apply to civil penalty prosecutions, 2) in the alternative, this case can be decided on a narrower ground by applying lenity to just the statutory provision imposing the penalty instead of the violated provision, and 3) the wording of an agency regulation should not be relied on to determine a unit of violation, except to avoid misleading the public.
Small Business Wins Fight to Stop New 3.8% Tax
In a nationwide ad campaign, small business owners successfully urged Congress not to add a 3.8% tax on struggling Main Street.
Despite being mischaracterized as “tax loopholes” by some members of Congress and already battling challenges like record-high inflation, small business owners across the nation spoke out over the last several weeks and successfully stopped a new 3.8% tax that would impact many small businesses.
FOX Business wrote about the campaign, highlighting NFIB’s national paid advertising effort featuring ads in key states promoting America’s small businesses as the “backbone” of our economy. The campaign urged members of Congress to vote against any new taxes on small businesses. NFIB members saw a victory in this effort as the final Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 does not include the new 3.8% tax, which was included in the House-passed spending bill and proposed by Senators Schumer and Manchin before they ultimately dropped the provision. NFIB will continue to monitor upcoming bill proposals because the tax proposal may return in future years.
NFIB Argues for Property Owners’ Rights in Supreme Court Amicus Brief
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 11, 2022) – NFIB filed an amicus brief in the case Wilkins v. United States at the U.S. Supreme Court. The case concerns whether the Quiet Title Act’s statute of limitations is a jurisdictional requirement or a claim-processing rule. NFIB argues the Act’s statute of limitations does not meet the Court’s high bar to be jurisdictional.
“This case will impact property owners nationwide, including small business property owners,” said Beth Milito, NFIB Senior Executive Counsel. “With property ownership comes several distinct rights, which this case threatens to curtail. Small businesses in particular are at a disadvantage in property disputes against the government. NFIB urges the Supreme Court to reverse the lower court’s decision.”
NFIB’s brief argues three main points: 1) the text of the Quiet Title Act’s statute of limitations does not meet the high bar to be jurisdictional, 2) the Court’s recent jurisprudence overwhelmingly leads to the conclusion that the Quiet Title Act’s statute of limitations is an ordinary nonjurisdictional claim-processing rule, and 3) the Court should reinforce the importance of property rights, and in cases between the government and private property owners, courts should consider rendering close calls in favor of the private property owner.
NFIB Statement on Inflation Reduction Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 8, 2022) – The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation’s leading small business advocacy organization, released the following statement regarding the Senate consideration and passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022:
“With high inflation, workforce shortages, and supply chain disruptions, small businesses are facing persistent economic headwinds,” said Kevin Kuhlman, NFIB Vice President of Federal Government Relations. “Small business owners avoided the worst-case scenario of direct tax increases on their businesses, such as the new 3.8% tax on business income. But the direct tax was replaced with what is likely to be an indirect tax, by doubling the size of the Internal Revenue Service, and stressing enforcement, audits, and examinations over compliance assistance and resolving backlogs. NFIB is disappointed that the Senate rejected amendments to protect small business owners from increased enforcement actions and made changes that made the bill more problematic for small businesses, including tax and healthcare changes that limit flexibility and increase costs.
Read full article here
Learn How NFIB Members are Fighting Harmful Small Business Legislation
NFIB members are fighting against new taxes, and against adding complicated regulations for data privacy
NFIB members are fighting against new taxes, and against adding complicated regulations for data privacy
In Congress, NFIB and small business owners are following and speaking out on two separate issues in the last few weeks. Not only have there been recent talks about a new small business tax, but there was also a recent bill addressing data privacy regulations on small businesses. The current economic challenges are already hurting small businesses but adding any new taxes or complicated regulations will only add to the challenges of Main Street. Below are two recent legislative provisions that would impact small business, explained:
New Small Business Tax Considered for Massive Congressional Spending Bill
In early July, the U.S. Senate proposed adding a new tax on pass-through businesses, wrongly characterized as closing a “loophole” to help fund Medicare. NFIB members spoke out against this new tax in a video, and NFIB launched a multi-state paid advertising campaign to urge members of Congress to stand against the new tax.
Read full article here
Federal Legislation Seeks to Provide Fairness for Small Business Owners using Big Tech Services
Antitrust bill in Congress seeks to stop bad Big Tech behavior against small businesses that use or sell on the internet
Large technology companies, such as Amazon, Google, and Meta are rapidly changing the way that consumers shop, find, and interact with small businesses. Unfortunately, NFIB members are increasingly reporting problematic business practices when dealing with these Big Tech giants.
Congress is considering legislation to provide new protections for small business owners and consumers against anticompetitive behavior and unfair practices by Big Tech, but these companies are spending millions of dollars to defeat this legislation. NFIB is asking small business owners dealing with these companies to make their voices heard by Congress.
Read more here
NFIB Statement on U.S. House Passage of Inflation Reduction Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 12, 2022) – The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation’s leading small business advocacy organization, released the below statement following the U.S. House of Representatives’ consideration and passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022:
“The small business economy is recovering, but owners continue to manage several economic challenges,” said Kevin Kuhlman, NFIB Vice President of Federal Government Relations. “Inflation remains a top issue for businesses in every sector, with over a third of owners reporting it’s their top business problem, the highest level since 1979. Seventy-five percent of owners also reported that inflation is worsening for their business. While the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 doesn’t include a direct tax on small businesses, it includes components that are concerning for owners, specifically the new IRS enforcement that could negatively impact law-abiding small business owners. Additional compliance burdens and responding to enforcement measures are an indirect tax on small business owners, requiring time and resources that many businesses don’t have. NFIB is disappointed that Congress passed these components that will further complicate Main Street’s economic recovery.”
NFIB sent a letter of concern to Members of Congress regarding the Senate amendment to H.R. 5376.
Does Your Small Business Need a DUNS Number?
Information on what a DUNS number is and how it can be used for your small business
Small business owners have likely heard of a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number at some point, but may not have one, or feel the need to get one. When deciding if a business needs a DUNS Number, it is important to understand what it is used for and how it could be beneficial.
What is a DUNS Number?
It is a nine-digit identification system assigned to businesses. DUNS numbers are used by lenders and potential business partners to help determine the reliability and financial stability of the company in question. It is similar to a social security number but must be requested directly from Dun & Bradstreet.
It should be noted that a DUNS number can be created for a business without its permission or knowledge if a third-party supplier or financial institution requests information about the business. Checking if your business already has a DUNS number is a great place to start. You can check whether you have a DUNS number and verify that your information is correct here.
Does a small business need a DUNS number?
A business that contracts with government agencies is required to have a DUNS number...Read full article here
Owners are absorbing inflation costs and raising prices
NFIB Inflation Survey: Large Majority of Small Business Owners Report Inflation Pressures Worsening
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 19, 2022) – The NFIB Research Center released a new survey today assessing the impact inflation is having on small businesses. Overall, over half (56%) of small employers reported that inflation is having a substantial impact on their business while about a third (35%) reported a moderate impact. Three quarters (75%) of owners reported that inflation pressure is getting worse, a quarter (25%) reported about the same, and 1% reported it easing up.
“Inflation has set in on Main Street and owners across the country continue to make business decisions in response,” said Holly Wade, Executive Director of NFIB’s Research Center. “As owners manage the highest inflation rate in decades, they are also managing an ongoing worker shortage and supply chain disruptions, which is hurting their businesses and consumers.” Read more...
As Inflation Surges To Four-Decade High, Congress Should Reject Any New Taxes On Small Businesses
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 13, 2022) – The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation’s leading small business advocacy organization, released the below statement in response to the Consumer Price Index’s inflation rate for June reaching a staggering 9.1 percent:
Small Businesses Applaud Supreme Court For Shielding Main Street From Harmful Regulations During 2021-2022 Term
“Inflation remains the top problem for the small business economy, and there seems to be no end in sight,” said Kevin Kuhlman, NFIB Vice President of Federal Government Relations. “Small business optimism has declined for six consecutive months and expectations for better business conditions are at an all-time low. Congress must not increase the pain and uncertainty that Main Street is feeling by proposing a new tax on small businesses that would raise costs and threaten jobs. We urge Congress to act against inflation and reject any tax increases on small businesses.”
Supreme Court ruled on cases regarding the vaccine mandate, arbitration, and more
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 6, 2022) – The U.S. Supreme Court decided several cases this term that will have an immediate positive effect on small businesses throughout the country. NFIB represented the small business community in five cases. NFIB was the lead plaintiff in the vaccine mandate case, NFIB v. OSHA, and filed amicus briefs in four other cases.
“From the vaccine mandate to arbitration cases, small businesses had a successful term at the Supreme Court,” said Karen Harned, Executive Director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center. “The courts are fundamentally the last line of defense for small businesses regarding government overreach, burdensome regulations, and costly mandates. The cases decided this term will benefit small businesses across various industries.”
Wages and Benefits
NFIB webinar explains the employment process to help recruit and retain workers
On June 1, the “Hiring & Retaining the Best Talent in a Tight Labor Market: HR Basics for Small Business” webinar was hosted by Senior Executive Counsel for the NFIB Small Business Legal Center Elizabeth Milito and Executive Director for the NFIB Research Center Holly Wade.
NFIB’s research shows that small business owners are struggling with workforce shortages. Forty-seven percent of small business owners are reporting they have job openings they could not fill, and an NFIB survey shows expectations for better business conditions in six months is the lowest it’s been in the nearly 50-year survey.
“While the last two years really demonstrated how resilient and important small businesses are to our economy, I would say that small businesses run America, the pandemic also showed some inefficiencies and deficiencies in businesses,” Milito explained. “Small business and larger businesses too, particularly when it comes to issues related to recruitment and retention of employees.”
For small business owners, it is important to re-examine the processes that are being used for recruiting employees and finding new and effective ways to retain employees.
House Democrats Introduce Bill To Require Companies Provide Time Off For Voting
Reuters (4/11, Warburton) reported House Democrats on Monday “proposed legislation requiring employers give their workers paid time off to vote, following failed attempts by Congress to pass major voting rights legislation earlier this year.” In a statement, Rep. Nikema Williams (D-GA) said that the “Time Off to Vote Act” would help states reduce lines at polling places, while Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI) said it would “ensure no worker has to sacrifice their wages or jeopardize their job security to exercise their sacred right to vote.”
Research: 3M Americans Unwilling To Return To Pre-Pandemic Work
The Wall Street Journal (4/16, Mitchell, Subscription Publication) reported new research shows 3 million Americans who quit work during the coronavirus pandemic do not plan to return to pre-pandemic activities even after all restrictions are lifted. According to researchers, these people tend to be women, lack a college degree, and work in low-paying jobs. Th Journal warned that the persistence of “long social distancing” means the labor force is unlikely to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels.
Wages Not Keeping Up With Inflation
CNBC (4/12, Cox) reported that because of the “surge” in inflation, “real earnings, despite rising 5.6% from a year ago, weren’t keeping pace with the cost of living. Real average hourly earnings posted a seasonally adjusted 0.8% decline for the month, according to a separate Bureau of Labor Statistics report. The inability of wages to keep up with costs could add to inflation pressures.”
Jobless Claims Up Last Week, But Remain At New Historic Lows
The AP (4/14, Wiseman) reported that first-time claims for jobless benefits rose 18,000 last week to 185,000, according to Department of Labor data released Thursday, but “remained at a historically low level, reflecting a robust U.S. labor market with near record-high job openings and few layoffs.” The four-week moving average, which irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 2,000 to 172,000.
Walmart Raises Truckers’ Starting Salaries, Launches Training Program To Address Tight Labor Market
CNBC (4/7, Repko) reported Walmart announced last Thursday that it is raising the starting salary it offers to long-haul truck drivers, and the retailer also is launching a training program for drivers, in an effort to attract new workers in a tight labor market. CNBC reported, “The retailer said truck drivers will now make from $95,000 up to $110,000 in their first year with Walmart”; although the company did not indicate the current salary range for new drivers, it “said they have made an average of $87,500 in their first year.” Walmart’s 12-week training program will be centered in Sanger, Texas, and in Dover, Delaware, and it will allow prospective drivers to “earn a commercial driver’s license and join Walmart’s fleet,” and it “will cover the cost of earning a license, which can run between $4,000 to $5,000, said company spokeswoman Anne Hatfield.”