A report from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) found that small businesses across the country continue to raise wages to retain employees and fill a historically high level of job openings, but are still struggling to fill jobs.
Nearly half or 49% of owners reported job openings they could not fill, down just one point from June and two points from May’s 48-year high, this which suggests that labor shortages remain frustrating for many small business owners as they face inflation and other economic headwinds.
Twenty-one percent of owners said the quality of labor was their top business issue, down two points from June, while 9% said labor costs were their main business problem.
Overall, 64% of owners said they hired or attempted to hire in July. Of those trying to hire, 91% of owners reported few or no qualified candidates for their jobs. To keep their employees, 48% of business owners said they had increased their compensation, just two points less than the 48-year-old record set in January.
Forty-two percent of owners have openings for skilled workers and 21% have openings for unskilled labor. Sixty percent of construction job postings were for skilled workers, and 67% of construction companies reported few or no qualified applicants.
“According to the latest BLOWS report, there are about 1.8 jobs available for every job seeker, and small businesses are feeling these shortages acutely. The only way for small businesses to hire more workers is to raise wages, but they face inflation that squeezes their margins, which may not allow them to hire the workers they need to operate at full capacity,” said Caleb Silver, Editor-in-Chief of Investopedia.