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NFIB Poll: Labor Challenges Continue to Dog Employers at End of 2021

  • National Federation of Independent Business jobs report for November finds that labor quality and labor costs remain the most pressing issues for small businesses
  • Most businesses continue to struggle to find qualified applicants
  • Business owners rely on compensation increases in a bid to attract workers

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

Labor challenges showed no signs of easing at the end of 2021, according to the latest jobs report by the National Federation of Independent Business.

NFIB’s monthly jobs report for December found that 25 percent of respondents were citing labor quality as their top concern. A record high 13 percent named labor costs as their top concern, up three points from November.

“The labor shortage is holding back the small business economy as owners work to retain their current employees and attract employees for their open positions,” said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist at NFIB. “A record-high number of small business owners are raising compensation to help retain and attract new employees.”

Sixty percent of businesses said they were trying to hire workers in December. Thirty-one percent said they have received few qualified applicants, while 26 percent said none of their applicants were qualified.

  • 49 percent said they have job openings they are not able to fill, well above NFIB’s historic average of 23 percent
  • A net share of 28 percent plan to create jobs in the next three months, up three points from November
  • A net share of 48 percent said they have raised compensation, up four points from November; the share expecting to raise compensation in the next three months remained at 32 percent
  • NFIB noted how the jobs reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics have shown growth in the labor participation force rate and employment-population ratio, but that both remain below pre-pandemic levels
  • The organization expects that retirements and those who stay out of the labor market for various reasons will continue to weigh down these figures

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