“Despite advances in computing power and predictive models, the biggest threats are usually the ones we never see coming,” wrote Nancy Johnshoy, senior vice president at First Business Bank in a recent analysis. The Midwest-based First Business Bank has significant stakes in Wisconsin.

“Example,” added Johnshoy. “Each year, the World Economic Forum asks…thought leaders to rank the most important risks for the next year or two. In early 2020, infectious diseases were not on the list and yet COVID -19 has become the most disruptive pandemic in a century.At the start of 2021, inflation was not on the list either, but it is now the most pressing issue facing the US economy.

For many people, inflation means that the slice of pizza that cost $1 a few months ago costs $1.50 today. Or a used car that cost $5,000 a year ago sells for $7,000 today, even though it has higher mileage. Or a retirement check doesn’t stretch as far as it used to.

For the business community, already struggling with labor and supply issues, inflation is erecting another barrier to success. That barrier is the higher interest rates on money borrowed to expand a business, buy equipment, make repairs, or other things that businesses of all sizes do on a regular basis.

Most investors are expecting three or four interest rate moves this year, all stemming from Fed strategies designed to control the money supply gradually to reduce inflation without sending the economy into recession.