Small Business Job Openings Fall to Pre-Pandemic Levels

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)’s monthly jobs report shows a general slowdown in employment activity for small businesses in March, with a seasonally adjusted net 11 percent planning to create new jobs in the next three months, down one point from February and the lowest level since May 2020.

“Job openings on Main Street are now in line with the levels before the pandemic,” said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist for NFIB. “Even with the slowdown in openings, the small business labor market remains tight, and owners continue to compete to retain and recruit employees.”

Overall, 56 percent of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in March, unchanged from February. Of those hiring or trying to hire, 86 percent of owners reported few or no qualified applicants. Twenty-nine percent of owners reported few qualified applicants for their open positions and 19 percent reported none.

Unchanged from last month, 37 percent (seasonally adjusted) of all small business owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, the lowest reading since January 2021. The percent of small business owners reporting labor quality as their top small business operating problem rose two points from February to 18 percent.

Thirty-one percent of owners have job openings for skilled workers and 14 percent have openings for unskilled labor. Job openings in construction were down nine points from last month and almost half have a job opening they can’t fill.

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