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Survey sheds light on small business struggles with supply chain issues, staffing shortages

The NFIB survey found about half of small business owners say that supply chain disruptions are having a significant impact on their business.

SIMSBURY, Conn. — A recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) is shedding light on the supply chain issues and staffing shortages small businesses are currently dealing with.

This is the 20th survey in the series and includes updates on supply chain disruptions, staffing shortages, and anticipations about the upcoming holiday season. 

The survey was conducted from October 25-27 with 613 responses collected. 

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The survey found about half of small business owners (48%) say that supply chain disruptions are having a significant impact on their business, almost unchanged from September’s survey.

Another 34% of owners reported supply chain disruptions are having a moderate impact on their business and 12% said it has a mild impact on their business. Six percent of owners reported supply chain disruptions are not an issue.

"There's a lot of issues impacting the supply chain right now, from the port closures to the staffing shortage that we talked about," said Andy Markowski, NFIB State Director in Connecticut. "The trucking industry, the logistics industry has a shortage of workers and that is impacting goods from getting from point A to point B."

Small businesses in Connecticut are feeling the impacts, and planning for the holidays has come with a lot of uncertainty.

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"The only thing I've been running into is just the staffing issues at the food distributors. Sometimes they don't have a driver for the truck and then some of the supplies, some of the foods I order might be out for several weeks so it's been kind of a scramble to find things like that," said Amy Sheehan, owner of The Coffee Spot in Simsbury.

“We actually place a lot of items for Christmas, we place those orders in February and March," said Melissa Brett, owner of Welden Hardware in Simsbury. "Yes, some are coming from overseas, not all China but some are coming from other places. We still haven’t gotten two-thirds of that product," 

The supply chain issues are forcing business owners to absorb higher costs and adjust accordingly.

"Ultimately what we're seeing is that many small business owners are forced to increase their prices whether they're providing a product or a service," said Markowski.

"Especially on the bigger items where we have to go with what Weber, Toro, all the big manufacturers tell us. Already we've had prices increase four times in the last seven months, and that's not our control. Our cost is going up and we have to pass it on to the consumer," said Brett.

Staffing shortages are also posing a problem. Twenty-six percent of small employers are currently experiencing a significant staffing shortage and another 22% are currently experiencing a moderate staffing shortage.

RELATED: 'Severe' staff shortages forcing school districts to close or go online

“Small business owners, NFIB business members, have reported a decrease in economic confidence from last month to this month, and that pessimism or uncertainty is expected to continue throughout the rest of this year into next year," said Markowski.

The survey also found that almost all small business owners (90%) anticipate the supply chain disruption that is impacting their business to continue for five or more months.

Brett and other business owners are advising people to buy early this holiday season.

Angelo Bavaro is an anchor and reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at abavaro@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. 

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