A record number of small business owners cite finding qualified workers as their single most important problem
Washington, D.C. (Sept. 6, 2018) – Small business plans to create new jobs and job openings hit a 45-year high in August, but owners still struggled to fill their open positions, according to NFIB’s monthly jobs report, released today. After posting significant gains in filling open positions in July, it slowed slightly in August, perhaps due to fewer qualified applicants.
Hiring plans remain exceptionally strong with a seasonally-adjusted net 26 percent of owners planning to create new jobs, up three points from July and hitting a new survey high.
“The August jobs report shows, once again, that small businesses are hiring, raising wages, and expanding the workforce, which ultimately benefits the economy,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita D. Duggan. “Small business is booming in this country and the need for workers is critical.”
Sixty-two percent of owners reported trying to hire, up three points from last month, with 89 percent of those owners reporting few or no qualified applications for their open positions.
A survey high of 38 percent of owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period. The most frequent job openings are in construction (62 percent), manufacturing (47 percent), and wholesale trades (45 percent).
A record 25 percent of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their Single Most Important Business Problem, up two points from last month.
“The real strength in hiring comes from the industries where wages are above average—construction, manufacturing, and wholesale trades,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Filling those job openings would boost the level of output for the economy.”
A net 32 percent of owners reported higher worker compensation, remaining unchanged from July, but only three points below May’s record reading. A net 21 percent report plans to raise compensation.