NFIB Jobs Report: Small Business Job Openings Rise in April

Date: May 02, 2024

Unfilled job openings increase as labor market remains tight

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 2, 2024) – According to NFIB’s monthly jobs report, 40% (seasonally adjusted) of all owners reported jobs openings they could not fill in the current period, up three points from March, which was the lowest reading since January 2021. The percent of small business owners reporting labor cost as their top small business operating problem increased one point from March to 11%, only two points below the highest reading of 13 percent reached in December 2021.

“Hiring plans among small businesses increased once again in April, but open positions remain largely unfilled as owners struggle month after month to find employees.” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Overall, small businesses are not reporting net gains in employment as wage pressures and inflation keep the labor market tight.”

Owners’ plans to fill open positions reverse the trend of previous months, with a seasonally adjusted net 12% planning to create new jobs in the next three months, up one point from March’s lowest level since May 2020.

Labor quality reported as the single most important problem for business owners increased one point to 19%. However, labor quality as small business owners’ top problem has eased considerably over the last two quarters.

Overall, 56% of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in April, unchanged for the third consecutive month. Of those hiring or trying to hire, 91% reported 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 (down one point) and 23% reported none (up four points).

Seasonally adjusted, a net 38% reported raising compensation, unchanged from March. A net 21% (seasonally adjusted) plan to raise compensation in the next three months, also unchanged from March.

Thirty-four percent have openings for skilled workers (up three points) and 18% have openings for unskilled labor (up four points).

Job openings in construction were up 11 points from last month and over half have a job opening they can’t fill. Job openings were the highest in the transportation, construction, and wholesale sectors, and the lowest in the agriculture and finance sectors.

View the full jobs report here.

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