In October, 43 percent (seasonally adjusted) of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, according to NFIB’s monthly jobs report. The percent of small business owners reporting labor quality as their top small business operating problem remains elevated at 23 percent.
“The labor market has not eased up much on Main Street,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Labor demand is still strong and small business owners are working hard to maintain competitive compensation to retain workers and fill critical open positions. Labor quality is still a top problem among small businesses.”
“Filling open positions continues to pose a serious challenge for small businesses,” NFIB State Director Rosemary Elebashsaid. “Without qualified applicants, it’ll be difficult for Main Street to maximize their sales during the holiday season. Small business owners will do everything they can to retain their current employees and meet their customers’ needs.”
Labor costs reported as the single most important problem for business owners were unchanged at 9 percent, four points below the highest reading of 13 percent in December 2021.
Small business owners’ plans to fill open positions remain elevated, with a seasonally adjusted net 17 percent planning to create new jobs in the next three months, down one point from September and 15 points below its record-high reading of 32 reached in August 2021.
Overall, 61 percent of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in October, unchanged from September. Ninety percent of those hiring or trying to hire reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Thirty-one percent of owners reported few qualified applicants for their open positions and 24 percent reported none.
Seasonally adjusted, a net 36 percent reported raising compensation, unchanged from September. A net 24 percent plan to raise compensation in the next three months, up one point from September.
Thirty-seven percent of owners have openings for skilled workers and 18 percent have openings for unskilled labor.
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