WASHINGTON — According to the monthly jobs report compiled by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), 44% (seasonally adjusted) of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, down one point from April but still 20 points higher than the 49-year average reading.
The percent of owners reporting labor quality as their top small-business operating problem remains elevated at 24%, and 10% of owners reported labor costs as their single most important problem.
“The labor force participation rate remains below pre-COVID levels, which is contributing to the shortage of workers available to fill open positions,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Small businesses have a record high level of job openings currently and are working hard to fill their open positions.”
Small-business owners’ plans to fill open positions remain elevated with a seasonally adjusted net 19% planning to create new jobs in the next three months, up two points from April.
Overall, 63% reported hiring or trying to hire in May. Of those hiring or trying to hire, 89% of owners 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% reported none.
Seasonally adjusted, a net 41% of owners reported raising compensation, up one point from April and nine points below the 49-year record set in January 2022. A net 22% of owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months.
Thirty-eight percent of owners have openings for skilled workers and 20% have openings for unskilled labor. They simply don’t see enough qualified applicants.
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