Inflation appears to be easing, according to the latest Business Conditions Survey from the National Association for Business Economics (NABE). However, sales are slowing and profit margins are down.
The Net Rising Index (NRI) for sales — the percentage of those reporting increasing sales minus those reporting declining sales — dropped from 33 last quarter to 6 in Q3, the lowest reading since the April 2020 survey. And NABE members are less optimistic that sales will rise next quarter, with the forward-looking NRI declining to 25 from 38.
The NRI for profit margins, which rose to 0 last quarter, fell to -20, the second-lowest reading since the start of the pandemic. Only 10% of survey respondents are anticipating rising profits for the next three months, while 16% expect them to decrease.
The NRI for prices charged dropped to 27 from 45. Down from 49%, only a third of respondents said their prices rose in Q3, while most (61%) said their prices haven’t changed in the past three months. Roughly the same percentage anticipate that their prices will stay the same over the next three months.
Respondents remain confident that the U.S. won’t enter a recession within the 12 months ahead — 79% said the probability is 50% or less, up from 71% last quarter.