According to the latest National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) report, small business owners continue to struggle to find workers, with 45 percent (seasonally adjusted) of all owners reporting job openings they could not fill in the current period. The share of owners with unfilled job openings exceeds the 49-year historical average of 23 percent. Of those hiring or trying to hire, 92 percent of owners reported few or no qualified applications for the positions they were trying to fill.
“The labor market continues to be a big challenge for small business owners,” said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist for NFIB. “More owners are raising compensation to compete, but labor quality remains a serious problem for owners.”
Overall, 60 percent of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in April. Twenty-nine percent of owners reported few qualified applicants for their open positions and 26 percent reported none.
The percent of small business owners reporting labor quality as their top small business operating problem remains elevated at 24 percent, up one point from March. Labor costs reported as the single most important problem to business owners decreased two points to 9 percent, just four points below the highest reading of 13 percent reached in December 2021.
Small business owners’ plans to fill open positions remain elevated, with a seasonally adjusted net 17 percent planning to create new jobs in the next three months, up two points from March but 15 points below its record high reading of 32 reached in August 2021.
A net 40 percent (seasonally adjusted) reported raising compensation, down two points from March and 10 points below the 49-year record high set in January last year. A net 21 percent plan to raise compensation in the next three months, down one point from March.
Thirty-seven percent of owners have openings for skilled workers and 19 percent have openings for unskilled labor.