Business Conditions Looking Up, but Labor Shortage Remains an Issue: Nabe

Business conditions in the US remained strong, according to the Business Conditions Survey released today by the National Association for Business Economics. A majority of NABE member respondents to the survey, 65%, reported sales at their firms increased in the fourth quarter. However, labor shortages remained an issue.

“The positive results and outlook come despite clearly visible shortages, particularly labor shortages,” said NABE Business Conditions Survey Chair Jan Hogrefe, chief economist, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

“Fifty-seven percent of respondents report skilled labor shortages at their firms, while nearly one-quarter of respondents reports shortages of unskilled labor,” Hogrefe said. “Both shortages have grown steadily more widespread over the past year.”

The 57% reporting skilled labor shortages is up from 47% in a similar survey released in October. In addition, while 24% reported unskilled labor shortages in the current survey, only 11% did in the October survey.

Just 26% of respondents indicated their firms were not facing labor shortages.

The survey also asked when respondents believed the labor shortages would abate: 21% expect improvement in the second half of this year while 29% expect shortages of workers to continue into 2023 or beyond.

Respondents also weighed in on wages, with 68% saying wages rose and no respondent saying wages fell.

The share of respondents reporting rising employment at their firms during the past three months rose two percentage points to 32% in today’s survey from 30% in the October survey. The percent of respondents reporting falling levels of employment is unchanged at 7%.

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