Small Business Job Creation Starts Strong in 2019

Date: January 31, 2019

Owners continue hiring, creating new jobs, and raising employee compensation at record levels in January

Washington, D.C. (Jan. 31, 2019) – Small businesses started the new year by adding a net addition of 0.33 workers per firm, the best reading since July 2018, according to NFIB’s monthly jobs report, released today. Fifteen percent of owners are increasing employment an average of 3.1 workers per firm and seven percent reported reducing employment an average of 3.0 workers per firm.

“Small business owners started the New Year, right where they left off in 2018 – expanding their businesses and looking for workers to fill the jobs they’re creating,” said NFIB’s President & CEO Juanita D. Duggan. “The small business half of the economy is proving to be where job creation is taking place as owners continue to thrive.”

Small business owners continue to hire at record highs levels, with 56 percent of owners reported hiring or trying to hire. However, 88 percent of those owners reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions. Twenty-three percent of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their Single Most Important Business Problem. Overall, 35 percent of owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period.

January’s report showed a seasonally-adjusted net 18 percent of owners plan to create new jobs for their business. Twenty-three percent plan to increase total employment at their firm and three percent plan reductions. Owners continue to report increasing employee compensation, with a net 36 percent of owners reporting higher compensation in January, up one point from last month. A net 20 percent of owners are planning increases in the next few months, predicting further gains in wages and benefits.

“Based on small business employment and hiring plans, owners aren’t expecting much of an economic slowdown in the first half of the year,” said NFIB’s Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “There is a significant shortage of qualified workers that could slow down businesses, but for the most part owners are working hard to hire and attract qualified employees.”

The labor markets are tight for both skilled and unskilled workers. Job creation plans were the strongest in construction (net 32 percent) and manufacturing (net 26 percent).

Click here to view the entire NFIB Jobs Report. For more information about NFIB, please visit


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