Small businesses across the country continue to raise wages to keep employees and fill a historically high level of open positions, according to NFIB’s monthly jobs report. Seasonally adjusted, 49% of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, down one point from June and down two points from May’s 48-year record high.
“Hiring has never been harder for small business owners,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “The labor shortage remains frustrating for many small business owners as they continue to manage inflation and other economic headwinds. Owners are adjusting business operations where they can to help mitigate lost sales opportunities due to staffing shortages.”
Twenty-one percent of owners said that labor quality was their top business problem, down two points from June. Nine percent of owners cited labor costs as their top business problem, up one point. However, more small businesses decreased employment than increased again in July despite high levels of job openings.
Small business owners’ plans to fill open positions remain elevated, with a seasonally adjusted net 20% planning to create new jobs in the next three months.
Overall, 64% of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in July. Of those trying to hire, 91% of owners reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Thirty percent of owners reported few qualified applicants for their open positions and 27% reported none.
Seasonally adjusted, a net 48% reported raising compensation, just two points below the 48-year record high set in January. A net 25% plan to raise compensation in the next three months, down three points from June.
Forty-two percent of owners have openings for skilled workers and 21% have openings for unskilled labor. Sixty percent of the job openings in construction are for skilled workers and 67% of construction firms reported few or no qualified applicants.