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Majority of Small Businesses Attempting to Hire, Labor Market Remains Weak

August 07, 2020, 07:15 AM
Filed Under: Economy

According to NFIB’s monthly jobs report, over half (51 percent) of small business owners reported hiring or trying to hire in July. Forty-four percent (86 percent of those hiring or trying to hire) reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill, up 1 point. Fifty-two percent of construction firms reported few or no qualified applicants and 37 percent cited the shortage of qualified labor as their top business problem.

“This summer has been a challenging time for small businesses, and we see the evidence of that in the July jobs report,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Owners are doing everything they can to get their employees back to work but there have been obstacles, including Unemployment Insurance and government re-opening regulations, that are causing further obstacles to small businesses.”

Seasonally adjusted, a net 15 percent of owners reported raising compensation, and a net 14 percent plan to do so in the coming months. Eight percent of owners cited labor costs as their top problem.

Firms decreased employment by -0.06 workers per firm on average over the past few months. Up one point from June, 7 percent of owners reported increasing employment an average of 3.8 workers per firm. Seasonally adjusted, 18 percent (down 2 points) reported reducing employment an average of 2.3 workers per firm.

A seasonally adjusted net 18 percent plan to create new jobs in the next three months, up 2 points from June and 17 percentage points above April.

Also seasonally adjusted, 30 percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, down 2 points from June’s strong reading. The shift from unemployed to employed remains slow but is improving.

Twenty-seven percent have job openings for skilled workers, unchanged from June’s report. Eleven percent of owners have job openings for unskilled labor. Up from last month, 25 percent of owners reported few qualified applicants for their open positions and 19 percent reported none. Forty-six percent of the job openings in construction are for skilled workers, up 5 points.

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