Businesses expect more inflation, fed survey finds

Survey predicts more inflation

ATLANTA -- Business executives across the Southeast are expecting slightly higher inflation, according to a survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta released Monday morning.

Their average prediction rose to 2.1 percent annual inflation in the April survey, up from 2.0 percent in the prior month’s query.

Price pressure is coming from materials and other non-labor-related expenses such as energy, capital and regulations. Of the 165 firms responding to the April 9-13 questionnaire, 57 percent forecast moderate pressure, and 18 percent predicted it would be strong, the highest percentage in this category since monthly surveys began in October.

Wages, benefits and other labor-related costs aren’t expected to be much of a factor, suggesting companies don’t think they’ll have trouble finding all the workers they’ll need for whatever hiring they have planned.

While that may not be cheery news for people looking for jobs, the survey did show optimism for managers, owners and shareholders.

“According to the businesses surveyed, firms are still operating in an environment of below-normal sales and depressed margins,” notes the Fed’s news release. “... Respondents also anticipate that their sales, margin adjustments, and productivity are likely to have a small, though positive, influence on prices in the coming year.”

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