Washington, D.C. (Oct. 3, 2019) – Small businesses created jobs at a steady, yet slower, pace in September despite continued difficulty in finding qualified workers, according to NFIB’s monthly jobs report. Owners added an average addition of 0.10 workers per firm, down slightly from August’s reading of 0.19. Finding qualified workers remains the top concern for small businesses with 23% of owners reporting it as their No. 1 problem.
“Although small business hiring dipped a bit in September, thanks to the lack of qualified workers, many owners are still committed to creating new jobs and raising compensation to attract and retain workers,” said NFIB’s President & CEO Juanita D. Duggan. “Owners want to create more jobs, but fewer did in September, because they can’t find workers to fill them.”
Fifty-seven percent of owners reported they are hiring or trying to hire. Of those owners, 88% reported finding few, if any, qualified applicants for the open positions.
Thirty-five percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, which is a historically high number. In construction, 56% had job openings, while 37% reported openings in manufacturing and 38% in retail.
Despite the labor shortage, a seasonally adjusted net 17% of owners are planning to create new jobs. Not seasonally adjusted, 18% plan to increase total employment at their firm and 6% plan to decrease total employment.
Owners are continuing to raise compensation, with a seasonally adjusted net 29% of owners reporting raising worker compensation and net 18% of owners are planning to do so in the next three months.
“Hiring has slowed down, but it’s due to the inability to find qualified workers, not because of a lack of customers,” said NFIB’s Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “The strong labor demand is a clear indication that small business owners are optimistic about prospects for the economy.”
Other findings include:
- Fourteen percent of all firms reported using temporary workers.
- Thirty-one percent of owners have openings for skilled workers, and 15% have openings for unskilled labor.
- Reports of “few or no qualified applicants” were the most frequent in construction (64%), non-professional services (49%), and manufacturing (43%).