Forty-seven percent (seasonally adjusted) of small business owners in the United States reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, according to the National Federation of Independent Business’ monthly jobs report for February 2023.
The NFIB, headquartered in Nashville, has conducted monthly surveys of its membership since 1986.
Although state-specific data is unavailable, NFIB Michigan Director Amanda Fisher highlighted how increased mandates sought by Democratic legislators and the governor’s office will exacerbate the labor challenges small-business owners face.
“This report underscores the need for solutions that support our local job creators — not burdensome mandates like (planned) prevailing wage and forced unionization that will make it harder for small businesses to keep their doors open,” Fisher says. “Amid escalating prices, a low workforce participation rate, and recession fears, small-business owners are asking lawmakers to do no harm and to work together on a pro-growth agenda that would promote greater economic opportunity for Michigan.”
The percentage of small-business owners reporting labor quality as their top operating problem remains elevated at 21 percent, down 3 percentage points from January. Labor cost was reported as the single most important problem by 12 percent of business owners, an increase of 2 points from January and 1 point below the highest reading of 13 percent reached in December 2021.
A seasonally adjusted net 17 percent of owners are planning to create new jobs in the next three months, down 2 points from January and 15 points below its record-high reading of 32 percent reached in August 2021, showing that the planned hiring trend is on the decline.
Sixty percent of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in January, up 3 points from the previous month. Of those hiring or trying to hire, 90 percent of owners reported finding few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Thirty percent of owners reported finding few qualified applicants for their open positions.
Seasonally adjusted, a net 46 percent of owners reported raising compensation, unchanged from last month. A net 23 percent plan to raise compensation in the next three months, up 1 point from January.
Thirty-eight percent of owners have job openings for skilled workers, and 19 percent have openings for unskilled labor.
View the full report here.