Small Businesses Continue to Struggle Finding Workers

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Bill Dunkelberg (Photo: Linkedin)

BOSTON – According to NFIB’s monthly jobs report, 46% of small business owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, down two points from May but still above the 48-year historical average of 22%. Small business owners continue to struggle to find qualified workers for their open positions while raising compensation at a record high level.

“In the busy summer season, many firms haven’t been able to hire enough workers to efficiently run their businesses, which has restricted sales and output,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “In June, we saw a record high percent of owners raising compensation to help attract needed employees and job creation plans also remain at record highs. Owners are doing everything they can to get back to a full, productive staff.”

“Unfortunately, Massachusetts employers face a unique double challenge while trying to re-staff their businesses during the post-pandemic recovery,” said NFIB Massachusetts State Director Chris Carlozzi. “While businesses are struggling to find qualified workers to fill vital roles, they are also experiencing rising unemployment insurance taxes to cover the cost of pandemic-related layoffs due to relatively high employment rates. It’s a bit of a double-whammy for job creators!”

A net 39% (seasonally adjusted) of owners reported raising compensation (up five points), a record high. A net 26% plan to raise compensation in the next three months (up four points).

Up two points from May’s report, 63% of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in June. A seasonally adjusted net 28% of owners plan to create new jobs in the next three months.

Finding qualified workers remains a problem for small businesses as 89% of those hiring or trying to hire reported few or no “qualified” applicants for their open positions in June.

Forty percent of owners reported openings for skilled workers (unchanged) and 22% have openings for unskilled labor (down five points).

In the construction industry, 60% of the job openings are for skilled workers (up nine points). Sixty percent of construction firms reported few or no qualified applicants (unchanged).

Unchanged from last month, 26% of owners said that labor quality was their top business problem, remaining as the top overall concern. Eight percent cited labor costs as their top business problem.

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