Almost half of small business owners struggled to hire in October
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 2, 2023) – In October, 43% (seasonally adjusted) of all owners 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%.
“The labor market has not eased up much on Main Street,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Labor demand is still strong and small business owners are working hard to maintain competitive compensation to retain workers and fill critical open positions. Labor quality is still a top problem among small businesses.”
Labor costs reported as the single most important problem for business owners were unchanged at 9%, four points below the highest reading of 13% in December 2021.
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, down one point from September and 15 points below its record-high reading of 32 reached in August 2021.
Overall, 61% of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in October, unchanged from September. Ninety percent of those hiring or trying to hire reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Thirty-one percent of owners reported few qualified applicants for their open positions and 24% reported none.
Seasonally adjusted, a net 36% reported raising compensation, unchanged from September. A net 24% plan to raise compensation in the next three months, up one point from September.
Thirty-seven percent of owners have openings for skilled workers and 18% have openings for unskilled labor.