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Survey: Record Number of Job Openings Going Unfilled

More than half of small businesses reported being unable to fill positions

WASHINGTON — The ongoing labor shortage is still challenging small businesses in the United States, according to findings recently released by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

In its monthly jobs report for May, the organization found that 51% (seasonally adjusted) of owners reported job openings that they could not fill. This number is up four points from the previous month and matches the 48-year record high set in September 2021. The report also found that 23% of owners reported labor quality as their top business problem, second to inflation, while 12% cited labor costs as their primary business problem.

“The labor force participation rate is slowly rising, but small businesses continue to have a hard time filling their open positions,” says NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “The number of job openings continues to exceed the number of unemployed workers, which has produced a tight labor market and added pressure on wage levels.”

The NFIB reports that, overall, 67% of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in May. This is up eight points from April, and 92% of those owners hiring or trying to hire reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Additionally, 33% of owners reported few qualified applicants for their open positions, and 28% reported none.

Seasonally adjusted, a net 49% of owners reported raising compensation, a rise of three points from April and one point below the 48-year record high set in January. A net 25% of owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months.

This news comes as a seasonally adjusted net 26% of owners are planning to create new jobs in the next three months, up six points from April and close to a 48-year record high.

Half of Small-Business Owners Can’t Fill Positions

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].