NFIB Jobs Report: Hiring Plans Weaken in December as Labor Shortages Challenge Small Businesses

Date: January 05, 2023

Forty-four percent of owners are raising compensation

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 5, 2023) – Small business owners’ plans to add positions remain elevated, with a seasonally adjusted net 17% planning to create new jobs in the next three months, down one point from November and 15 points below its record high reading of 32% reached in August 2021.

“Small business owners remain frustrated with the current labor situation,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “The trend in planned hiring eased slightly as labor quality and labor cost are two top issues for owners. Owners raised compensation again in December to attract and retain employees.”

Forty-one percent (seasonally adjusted) of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, down three points from November. The share of owners with unfilled job openings continues to exceed the 49-year historical average of 23% but 10 points below its record high of 51 percent last reached in July.

Overall, 55% of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in December, down four points from November. Ninety-three percent of those hiring or trying to hire reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Twenty-six percent of owners reported few qualified applicants for their open positions and 25% reported none.

The percent of small business owners reporting labor quality as their top small business operating problem remains elevated at 23%, up two points from November. Labor costs reported as the single most important problem to business owners decreased one point to 8%.

Seasonally adjusted, a net 44% of owners reported raising compensation, up four points from November. A net 27% of owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months.

Thirty-five percent of owners have openings for skilled workers and 16% have openings for unskilled labor.

Click here to view the full report.

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