Jobs Report

NFIB Small Business Jobs Report

The NFIB Research Foundation has collected Small Business Economic Trends data with quarterly surveys since 1974 and monthly surveys since 1986. Survey respondents are drawn from NFIB’s membership. The survey was conducted in August 2021 and reflects a random sample of 10,000 small-business owners/members.

Staggering 50 Percent of Small Business Owners Report Job Openings They Can’t Fill

NFIB’s chief economist William C. Dunkelberg, issued the following comments on NFIB’s August 2021 Jobs Report

Bill "Dunk" Dunkelberg
NFIB Chief Economist
William Dunkelberg

Fifty percent of all small business owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, a record high reading according to NFIB’s monthly jobs report. The number of unfilled job openings has remained far above the 48-year historical average of 22%.

“Small employers are struggling to fill open positions and find qualified workers resulting in record high levels of owners raising compensation,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Owners are raising compensation in an attempt to attract workers and these costs are being passed on to consumers through price hikes for goods and services, creating inflation pressures.”

Up five points from July’s reading, 66% of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in August. A seasonally adjusted net 32% of small business owners are planning to create new jobs in the next few months, up five points and a 48-year record high reading. The 48-year historical average is 11%.

Finding qualified workers remains a problem for small employers with 91% of those owners 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 29% reported none, a 48-year record high.

Small business owners reporting raising compensation is up three points from July to a net 41% (seasonally adjusted) and a 48-year record high reading. A net 26% of owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months, down one point from July’s record high reading. Ten percent of owners cited labor costs as their top business problem and 28% said that labor quality was their top business problem, up two points from July and both record high readings.

Forty-four percent have openings for skilled workers and 27% have openings for unskilled labor. Sixty-six percent of the job openings in construction are for skilled workers, up 7 points. Sixty-seven percent of construction firms reported few or no qualified applicants.

Click here to view the entire NFIB Jobs Report

The full Small Business Economic Trends report will be released on Tuesday, September 14th.

Contact Maggie Hall:
202-314-2073

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