Oklahoma Small Businesses Looking to Hire, Having Trouble Finding Qualified Labor in October

Date: November 10, 2020

Election Night Positive for Oklahoma Small Business

According to NFIB’s October Jobs Report, small businesses are looking to hire employees as they reported a historically high level of job openings this month. Overall, 55% of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in October, down 1 point from September. Thirty-three percent (seasonally adjusted) of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, down 3 points from September’s report.


“The good news is that despite a global pandemic, small business owners here in Oklahoma are looking to hire,” said NFIB State Director in Oklahoma, Jerrod Shouse. “The bad news is that they are having a problem finding qualified workers to fill those positions. Small business owners are busy re-opening and making sure their employees and customers are safe. That’s what they should be focusing their time and effort, not searching for qualified employees.”



Election night was a good night for Oklahoma small business. All four of NFIB endorsed candidates running for Congress won their races, including Kevin Hern, Markwayne Mullin, Frank Lucas, and Tom Cole. NFIB endorsed Sen. Jim Inhofe also won his U.S. Senate race. On the state level, 93% of NFIB endorsed candidates won re-election. That’s a 93% success rate.


“When it comes to small business, election night was a very good night here in Oklahoma. We are sending candidates to Washington D.C. who small business can feel confident will stand up for the issues they care about. What small business owners need now is another round of relief. According to a recent NFIB survey, one in five small businesses said they would close their doors if they don’t receive additional aid. We are counting on our newly elected leaders to help get our Oklahoma small business owners the help they need to stay afloat and keep Oklahoma’s economy running,” said Jerrod Shouse.”



Small businesses increased employment by 0.1 workers per firm on average over the past few months, an increase of 0.09 workers per firm from September. Up one point, 11% of owners reported increasing employment an average of 0.3 workers per firm, and 14% (down 2 points) reported reducing employment an average of 3.8 workers per firm (seasonally adjusted). A seasonally adjusted net 18% of owners are planning to create new jobs in the next 3 months, down 5 points from September but historically a very strong reading.


Finding qualified employees remains a problem for small businesses with 87% of those trying to hire reporting few or no “qualified” applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Twenty-eight percent of owners reported few qualified applicants for their open positions and 20% reported none.


A net 23% of owners reported raising compensation (unchanged) and a net 18% plan to do so in the coming months, up 2 points. Eight percent of owners cited labor costs as their top business problem (down 1 point) but 21% said that labor quality was their top business concern, exceeding taxes, regulations, and weak sales.


Twenty-nine percent of owners reported opening for skilled workers (down 3 points) and 14% have job openings for unskilled labor (down 2 points). Forty-four percent of the job openings in the construction industry are for skilled workers. Fifty-eight percent of construction firms reported few or no qualified applicants for their job openings and 35% cited the shortage of qualified labor as their top business problem.


Click here to view the entire NFIB jobs report.

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