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Small business compensation plans fall to lowest level since 2021

A net 18 percent of small business owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months.

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According to NFIB’s monthly jobs report, a net 18 percent (seasonally adjusted) of small business owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months in May, down three points from last month and the lowest reading since March 2021. Seasonally adjusted, a net 37 percent of owners reported raising compensation, down one point from April but historically very high.

“An exceptionally high number of small businesses are still struggling to fill open positions,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Although plans to increase compensation have fallen, small firms continue in their efforts to attract and retain workers.”

State-specific data is unavailable, but NFIB State Director Rosemary Elebash said, “Alabama’s latest unemployment rate is 3.1 percent. Employers here are encouraged with their participation with the Alabama Community College System’s Innovation Center.” The Innovation Center provides training programs that is bridging the skills gap and preparing Alabamians for in-demand careers. Twenty-seven courses are currently available and 12 new courses are expected to be available in 2024, with free tuition for participants. 

“These courses are building a skilled workforce and providing businesses small and large needed employees,” Elebash said.

Labor cost reported as the single most important problem for business owners decreased by one point to 10 percent, three points below the highest reading of 13 percent reached in December 2021. The percent of small business owners reporting labor quality as their top small business operating problem rose one point from April to 20 percent. However, labor quality as small business owners’ top problem has eased considerably over the last two quarters.

Forty-two percent (seasonally adjusted) of small business owners reported job openings they could not fill in May, up two points from April.

A seasonally adjusted net 15 percent of owners plan to create new jobs in the next three months, up three points from April and the highest reading of the year.

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Overall, 60 percent of small business owners reported hiring or trying to hire in May, up four points from April. Fifty-one percent (85 percent of those hiring or trying to hire) of owners reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Twenty-nine percent of owners reported few qualified applicants for their open positions and 22 percent reported none.

Thirty-seven percent have openings for skilled workers and 14 percent have openings for unskilled labor. The labor market remains tight, especially in the construction, manufacturing, and transportation sectors.

Job openings in construction were down one point from April and over half of them (54 percent) have a job opening they can’t fill. Job openings were the highest in the construction, manufacturing, and transportation sectors, and the lowest in the wholesale and agriculture sectors.

View the full jobs report here.

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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