NFIB report: 92% owners lack applicants


Small business owners continue to struggle to find workers, with 45% (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%. Of those hiring or trying to hire, 92% 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 NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “More owners are raising compensation to compete, but labor quality remains a serious problem for owners.”

Overall, 60% 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% reported none.

The percent of small business owners reporting labor quality as their top small business operating problem remains elevated at 24%, up one point from March. Labor costs reported as the single most important problem to business owners decreased two points to 9%, just four points below the highest reading of 13% reached in December 2021.

Small business owners’ plans to fill open positions remain elevated, with a seasonally adjusted net 17% 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% (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% 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% have openings for unskilled labor.

Click here to view the full report.

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