“Throughout the country, the number of job openings continues to exceed the number of unemployed workers which has produced a tight labor market, especially on Main Street,” said Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB Chief Economist. “Small business owners are working hard to recruit and retain employees to get back to a full and productive workforce.”
Seasonally adjusted, 48% of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up one point from last month. The number of unfilled job openings exceeds the 48-year historical average of 23%.
Small business owners’ plans to fill open positions remain high, with a seasonally adjusted net 19% planning to create new jobs in the next three months.
Overall, 61% of all employers reported hiring or trying to hire in February, up two points from January’s report. Ninety-three percent of those owners 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 26% reported none.
Also seasonally adjusted, a net 45% of owners reported raising compensation, down five points from January’s 48-year record high reading. A net 26% of owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months.
Up one point from January, 37% of owners have openings for skilled workers and 25% of owners have openings for unskilled labor, up three points. Fifty-eight percent of the job openings in the construction industry are for skilled workers. Sixty-seven percent of construction firms reported few or no qualified applicants, displaying one of the tightest domestic labor markets.