NFIB Jobs Report: Labor Struggles Continue

According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)’s monthly jobs report, small business owners continue to struggle with labor issues as 23 percent of owners report labor quality as their top business problem, second to inflation. Ten percent of owners report labor cost as their top business problem.

“The labor shortage remains a challenging problem for small business owners,” said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist for NFIB. “Because of staffing shortages, small business owners are less able to take full advantage of current sales opportunities and continue to make business adjustments to compensate.”

Small business owners’ plans to fill open positions remain elevated, with a seasonally adjusted net 20 percent planning to create new jobs in the next three months, down three points from September but still historically strong.

Sixty-one percent of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in October, down three points from September. Of those hiring or trying to hire, 90 percent of owners reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. For all firms, including those not actively hiring, 30 percent of owners reported few qualified applicants for their open positions and 25 percent reported none.

Seasonally adjusted, a net 44 percent reported raising compensation, down one point from September, but just six points below the 48-year record high set in January. A net 32 percent plan to raise compensation in the next three months, up nine points from September. This will put continued pressure on prices.

Forty-six percent (seasonally adjusted) of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, unchanged from September. Forty percent of owners have openings for skilled workers and 22 percent have openings for unskilled labor.

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