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NFIB Report Finds Almost Half of Small Business Owners Can’t Fill Job Openings

  • NFIB’s jobs report for April finds that 44 percent of small business owners have not been able to find qualified candidates for their open positions
  • Ninety-two percent of hiring companies said there had been no or few qualified candidates
  • Business owners have been increasing wages, offering bonuses, or delaying hires in response to the labor shortage

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

The share of small business owners reporting challenges in finding qualified candidates for their available jobs hit a record high in April, according to the latest monthly jobs report from the National Federation of Independent Business.

Forty-four percent of small business owners in the report said they have not been able to fill open positions, twice the 48-year average. Fifty-nine percent said they were hiring, but 92 percent said they had received few or no applications from qualified candidates.

  • Twenty-four percent of respondents reported labor quality as the top issue facing their business
  • A net share of 31 percent said they had increased wages to try to attract qualified candidates, with a net share of 20 percent planning to increase wages within the next three months
  • Small businesses were also offering bonuses or delaying hires in response to the lack of candidates
  • The situation was especially pronounced in the construction industry, where 44 percent of available openings were for skilled workers and 58 percent of companies reported that no or few qualified candidates had applied
  • NFIB’s report correlates with an April jobs report where just 266,000 positions were added, much lower than expected amid the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Economists have attributed the labor shortage to causes such as fears of COVID-19 infection, child care needs, lack of necessary skills, dissatisfaction with wages or benefits, and higher unemployment benefits

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