Small Business Job Openings Back Up in January

According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)’s monthly jobs report, 57 percent of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in January, up two points. Of those hiring or trying to hire, 91 percent of owners reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Twenty-seven percent of owners reported few qualified applicants for their open positions and 25 percent reported none.

“The labor shortage continues to be a major concern for small businesses in the New Year as nearly all owners trying to hire are reporting no or few qualified applicants,” said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist for NFIB. “Small businesses’ sales opportunities are limited because of the staffing shortage but owners continue to make changes in business operations to compensate.”

Forty-five percent (seasonally adjusted) of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up four points from December.

Small business owners’ plans to fill open positions remain elevated, with a seasonally adjusted net 19 percent planning to create new jobs in the next three months, up two points from December but 13 points below its record-high reading of 32 reached in August 2021.

The percent of owners reporting labor quality as their top business operating problem remains elevated at 24 percent. Labor costs reported as the single most important problem to business owners increased two points to 10 percent, historically among the highest readings in more than 49 years.

Seasonally adjusted, a net 46 percent of owners reported raising compensation, up two points from December and just four points below the 49-year average record high set in January last year. A net 22 percent of owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months, down five points from December.

Thirty-six percent of owners have job openings for skilled workers.

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