NEW YORK — Signs of inflation are showing up in many of the smaller businesses in the US. Some are reporting small increases in wage pressure, which has been at minimal levels through most of the six-year-old economic expansion. Plans to raise prices are on a sharp ascent. Actual price increases are rising also. The evidence is contained in the latest quarterly economic survey of small and independent businesses.
The survey, conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business, ``shows the worst set of inflation numbers in the expansion,'' said economist William C. Dunkelberg.
Mr. Dunkelberg, of Temple University, said the number of companies planning to raise prices in the first quarter jumped 5 percentage points from fourth-quarter levels, to 30 percent of all companies surveyed.