(Bloomberg) -- Increases in prices charged by U.S. companies have grown more widespread, wages are soaring and a majority of firms report shortages of skilled labor, according to a survey by that National Association for Business Economics.
Results from the January survey showed a net 53% of respondents said their companies boosted prices in the fourth quarter, the highest in the 40-year history of the group’s Business Conditions survey. The most widespread increases were among goods producers, where 92% boosted prices.
More than half expect prices to rise further over the next three months, while only 1% see them falling. Nearly seven in 10 indicated that their materials costs were accelerating in the fourth quarter.
In addition to input cost pressures, labor costs are playing a big role in the push-through of price increases to customers. A record 68% of respondents reported having to raise worker pay, and 77% expected higher wage costs over the next three months.
Some 57% of respondents reported shortages of skilled labor, up 10 percentage points from the October survey. Almost a third anticipate labor shortages to extend in 2023 or beyond, and only 1 in 10 see an improvement in worker availability in the first half of this year.
Meantime, demand remained robust in the fourth quarter with 65% of respondents reporting higher sales at their companies. That share is among the highest on record.
“The positive results and outlook come despite clearly visible shortages, particularly labor shortages,” Jan Hogrefe, chair of the business conditions survey, said in a statement. Shortages of skilled and unskilled labor “have grown steadily more widespread over the past year.”
One bright spot was that 26% of companies expect supply shortages to ease in the second half of the year versus 11% that anticipate they will persist into 2023 or beyond.
The survey of 84 NABE members was conducted Jan. 3-12.
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