outdoor worker hold slow sign at road construction site

Sales growth slowed in Q3, while profit margins continued to contract, according to the October 2022 NABE Business Conditions Survey. More than half of panelists said the U.S. economy had a more-than-even likelihood of entering a recession during the next year, while 11% believe the economy is already in one.

The Net Rising Index for sales (i.e., the percentage of panelists reporting increasing sales minus the percentage reporting decreasing sales) hit its lowest since mid-2020 in the third quarter. In addition, more respondents reported falling instead of rising profit margins for the first time since mid-2020.

More than half (52%) of respondents said their firms increased their prices in Q3, up 9 percentage points from July. Meanwhile, 63% said their firm’s wages rose during the past 3 months, up from 55% in the previous survey.

The share of respondents reporting rising employment at their firms during the past 3 months fell to 33% from 38%. Just under a quarter (22%) of respondents expect employment to rise at their firm, down from 24% in July and 50% in January.