Record high levels of small business owners are reporting increased employee compensation and hiring numbers continue to grow, according to NFIB’s monthly Jobs Report, released Thursday. A seasonally adjusted net 35 percent of small business owners reported increases in labor compensation as owners try to attract needed employees and retain those already on board. Fifty-eight percent of respondents indicated they are hiring or trying to hire, up one point in the past month and five points since the March report.
“This month’s jobs report demonstrates that small business owners’ optimism is showing no signs of abating. They are increasing compensation at record levels and are continuing to hire,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “Post tax reform, concerns about taxes and regulations are taking a backseat to their worries over filling open positions and finding qualified candidates.”
While near record high levels of owners are hiring or trying to hire, 83 percent of respondents reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Twenty-three percent of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their Single Most Important Business Problem (up one point), the highest reading since 2000, and one point below the all-time survey high.
Thirty-three percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, down two points but historically very high. Twelve percent reported using temporary workers, unchanged.
“While the small business economy is showing tremendous growth, difficulty finding qualified workers continues to be a notable issue,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Temporary workers are filling some of these vacancies, but an increased availability of qualified workers would lead to more growth in employment.”
The NFIB Research Center 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 May 2018 and reflects a random sample of 10,000 small-business owners/members.