According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), 43 percent (seasonally adjusted) of all small business owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up three points from August.
“Small business owners have spent the first three quarters of 2023 working to recruit and retain qualified employees for their businesses, but it still remains a top challenge,” said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist for NFIB. “Owners continue to raise compensation to attract the right employees.”
The percent of small business owners reporting labor quality as their top business operating problem remains elevated at 23 percent. Labor cost reported as the single most important problem for business owners increased one point to 9 percent, four points below the highest reading of 13 percent in December 2021.
Owners’ plans to fill open positions remain elevated, with a seasonally adjusted net 18 percent planning to create new jobs in the next three months. Overall, 61 percent of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in September, up two points from August. Ninety-three percent of those hiring or trying to hire reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Thirty percent of owners reported few qualified applicants for their open positions and 27 percent reported none.
Seasonally adjusted, a net 36 percent of owners reported raising compensation. A net 23 percent of owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months, down three points from August. Thirty-seven percent of owners have job openings for skilled workers and 18 percent have job openings for unskilled labor.