How Does Inflation Affect Businesses?

Inflation, especially high inflation, increases profits as well as the cost of doing business and implies higher demand for products at higher prices and a tight employment market with rising wages. Investopedia reports that inflation, “Is not intrinsically good or bad.”

Inflation is present when prices are higher than they were previously. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System reports that an inflation rate of 2 percent is consistent with the Federal Reserve’s mandate for maximum employment and stable profitability. This small amount of inflation ensures that the economy is able to grow and that business are profitable enough to maintain and gradually expand workforces.

Inflation above 2 percent can cause an, “inflationary spiral.” In this situation, prices are pushed higher by rising consumer demand. Businesses are profitable and hire aggressively to match production with demand. Tight labour markets lead to wage increases. This leads to a higher cost of living with higher rents, home values, consumer prices and prices of raw materials. This represents further increased demand for products and services, which also increases prices, further increasing company profits. These increased company profits again leads to more hiring, which continues to put inflationary pressure on wages and prices. The Business Directory describes this as, “Reinforcing feedback of a vicious circle.”