Small business owners are continuing to experience difficulty in finding qualified employees well into 2021, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.
NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said. “Small business owners are competing with the pandemic and increased unemployment benefits that are keeping some workers out of the labor force. However, owners remain determined to hire workers and grow their business.”
As was reported in NFIB’s March jobs report (the most recent numbers available), 42% of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, a record high reading.
A net 28% of owners reported raising compensation (up three points) and the highest level in the past 12 months. A net 17% plan to raise compensation in the next three months, down two points.
Seven percent of owners cited labor costs as their top business problem and 24% said that labor quality was their top business problem. “Finding eligible workers to fill open positions will become increasingly difficult for small business owners,” the NFIB emphasized.
NFIB does not expect the situation to improve in any major way while the economy continues to pick up speed. “Owners are frustrated with mounting unfilled job openings as qualified and willing candidates are scarce.”
Fifty-one percent (91% of those hiring or trying to hire) of owners reported few or no “qualified” applicants for jobs they were trying to fill in March.
In addition, the net percent of owners reporting inventory increases decreased two points to a net negative 5%.
A net 3% of owners view current inventory stocks as “too low” in March, down two points but remaining at historically high levels. A net 4% of owners plan inventory investment in the coming months, up two points from February.