Small Business Job Creation Plans and Current Job Openings Plummet in April, Labor Market Weakened

Date: May 07, 2020

Washington, D.C. (May 7, 2020) – For the second month in a row, job creation plans among small businesses fell as the economy deals with the effects of COVID-19, according to NFIB’s monthly jobs report. An increasing number of firms reported reducing employment as the six-week total of initial unemployment claims has now reached 30.3 million.

“Small businesses have been doing everything they can to sustain their business during this economic uncertainty,” said NFIB’s Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “As states begin to reopen, workers who have been unemployed will be called back to work at many of these small businesses. Until workers are back and the virus is contained, we will get a better picture of how many jobs and firms were lost during this time.”

A seasonally-adjusted net 1 percent plan to create new jobs, down 8 points from March following a 12 point drop from February. Small business owners all but suspended hiring plans in the near term.

Down seven points from March, 47% reported hiring or trying to hire, with 87% of those owners reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Fifty-four percent of construction firms reported few or no qualified applicants and 30% cited the shortage of qualified workers as their top business problem.

Overall, finding qualified workers is no longer the top issue for majority of small business owners as 15% reported this as their No. 1 business problem, a nine-point decline from March and 12 points from August’s record high.

A seasonally adjusted 24% of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, down 11 points from March. A third of all job openings are in construction, 17% in non-professional services, and 12% in manufacturing and retail.

Fewer employers are raising compensation than in previous months. A seasonally adjusted net 16% reported raising compensation (down 15 points) and a net 7% plan to do so in the coming months (down 9 points). Eight percent of owners cited labor costs as their top problem.

Twenty-one percent of owners have job openings for skilled workers (down 9 points) and 8% have openings for unskilled labor (down 5 points). Twenty-two percent of owners said they have few qualified applicants for their open positions and 19% reported none.

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

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