NFIB Jobs Report: Main Street Job Market Remains Challenging

Date: August 03, 2023

Owners are reporting few or no qualified applicants for open positions

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 3, 2023) – Forty-two percent of small business owners (seasonally adjusted) reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, according to NFIB’s monthly jobs report. The percent of small business owners reporting labor quality as their top small business operating problem remains elevated at 23%, down one point from June. Labor costs reported as the single most important problem to owners increased two points to 10%.

“The small business economy continues to struggle with the current job market, with owners working hard to fill open positions,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Hiring plans are trending down but are still historically strong in the face of a weakening economy.”

Small business owners’ plans to fill open positions remain elevated, with a seasonally adjusted net 17% planning to create new jobs in the next three months, up two points from June but 15 points below its record high reading of 32 reached in August 2021.

Overall, 61% of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in July, up two points from June. Of those hiring or trying to hire, 92% of owners reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill, up two points. Thirty-three percent of owners reported few qualified applicants for their open positions and 23% reported none.

Seasonally adjusted, a net 38% of owners reported raising compensation, up two points from June’s lowest reading since May 2021. A net 21% of owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months, down one point from June.

Thirty-six percent of owners reported they have job openings for skilled workers and 18% have openings for unskilled labor. Labor supply and quality remain a supply-side constraint to more growth.

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