1 min read October 06, 2022
Businesses remain financially strong, but they’re more stressed and expect to feel the impact of inflation.
Employee on phone while using computer

Businesses feel better about their finances compared to a year ago—but inflation, rising interest rates, and other trends have them concerned for the future.

The latest Principal® Financial Well-Being IndexSM showcases both the resilience of United States businesses and the persistence of their challenges, such as hiring and retention.1

Here’s a snapshot from each of the four trends in this wave (download the full set of infographics (PDF) to see all the insights):

1. Financials and inflation

Looking back: Businesses report improved financials compared to this time last year.

Bar chart for all businesses showing 50% in March 2021 compared to 68% for March 2022.
Line chart for Large businesses and Small businesses. Percentage spread of 37 in Mar 2021 compared to 20 in Mar 2022

Looking ahead: The top two concerns for both businesses and employees are inflation and the cost of health care.

Top 2 concerns for both businesses and employees


Inflation (New to survey)


The cost of health care

Other business concerns (in no particular order)

Benefits inflation

Data security/cybersecurity

Wage inflation

Other employee concerns (in no particular order)

Mental health and well-being

Finding a new job with better pay

Feeling "burned out" at current job

2. Job vacancies

Larger businesses especially have more vacancies and are spending more time on employee recruitment in March 2022 compared to about a year ago.

Key for bar charts. Left bar is for Small businesses. Right bar is for Large businesses.

More job vacancies

Bar chart showing the left bar with a value of 28% for Small businesses. The right bar has a value of 43% for Large businesses.

More recruitment time

Bar chart showing the left bar with a value of 33% for Small businesses. The right bar has a value of 56% for Large businesses.

3. Employee benefits

Top 3 benefits employers expect to increase:


Training and education


Health care benefits


Retirement benefits

March 2021 top benefits:

  1. Caregiving support
  2. Vacation time
  3. Pet insurance

4. Retirement

Top reason why staffing has changed in the last three months, according to businesses:

Pie chart showing 27% due to retirement. This is the first time it's been rated number 1.

But it's more common among larger businesses:


Bar chart showing Small businesses listed at 17%, while Large businesses are larger at 37%.

The top reason why staffing has changed in the last three months. 27% due to retirement, which is the first time at number 1. It’s more common among larger businesses, with Small businesses: 17% vs. Large businesses: 37%.

Gain more insights from the Global Financial Inclusion Index.

1 The Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM (March 11-23, 2022) surveyed 500 business leaders at companies with 2-10,000 employees. Businesses must offer at least health insurance or retirement benefits. This wave also included input from 230 full-time employees, surveyed March 11-17, 2022.

2Small businesses = 2-499 employees. Large businesses = 500-10,000 employees.

About the Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM 
The Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM surveys business owners, decision makers and business leaders aged 21 and over who work at companies with 2 – 10,000 employees. The nation-wide survey, commissioned since 2012, examines the financial well-being of American workers and business employers. In response to COVID-19, the Well-Being Index was transformed from an annual survey to a quarterly pulse, offering three waves, revisiting questions and measuring sentiment regarding timely issues in the small and midsized business marketplace. In the first pulse of the Well-Being Index in 2022, the employee audience was added to the survey to compare and contrast key ideas and sentiment from employers. The survey was commissioned by Principal and conducted online by Dynata from March 11-23, 2022, with a total of 500 business owners, and decision maker participants and a total of 230 employee participants. The research report focuses on providing a holistic perspective on key trends and timely issues in the small and medium business market.

Principal developed a dedicated portal for employers designed to help business handle the effects of COVID-19 and a challenging economy in the months ahead. To learn more visit Navigating Business Now

Dynata is not an affiliate of any company of the Principal Financial Group®

Insurance products issued by Principal National Life Insurance Co (except in NY) and Principal Life Insurance Co. Plan administrative services offered by Principal Life. Principal Funds, Inc. Is distributed by Principal Funds Distributor, Inc. Securities offered through Principal Securities, Inc., member SIPC and/or independent broker/dealers. Referenced companies are members of the Principal Financial Group®, Des Moines, IA 50392.