Small Business Labor Shortage Hits New Record in July

National Federation of Independent Business (08/05/21)

Small business owners reported a record high reading of unfilled job openings, with 49% of owners reporting job openings they could not fill in July, according to a random sample of 10,000 small business owners by the National Federation of Independent Business. Unfilled job openings have remained far above the 48-year historical average of 22%. Overall, 61% of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in July, up two points from June. A seasonally adjusted net 27% of owners are planning to create new jobs in the next three months, down one point from June’s record high reading.

Some 93% of owners hiring or trying to hire reported few or no qualified applicants for the jobs they were trying to fill in July. Thirty-one percent of owners reported few qualified applicants for their open jobs (down one point) and 26% reported none (up two points), a 48-year record high. Seasonally adjusted, a net 38% reported raising compensation, down one point from June’s record high of 39%. A net 27% of owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months, up one point from June and a 48-year record high reading.

Nine percent of owners cited labor costs as their top business problem and 26% said that labor quality was their top business problem, unchanged from June. Forty-three percent of owners have job openings for skilled workers (up three points) and 25% have openings for unskilled workers (up three points).

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