Jobs Numbers Point to More Hiring Woes for Small Businesses


Small-business owners feeling the heat of the hot labor market aren’t likely to get much relief anytime soon.

The U.S. economy added 372,000 new jobs in June, more than economists expected, and the unemployment rate remained near historic lows at 3.6 percent, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those statistics should ease concerns about the likelihood of a recession, but the persistently strong labor market also means more fierce competition for workers for small businesses. Last month, nearly half of small businesses reported having job openings that they cannot fill. That is among the highest recorded results in 48 years, according to a new survey from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB).

“The labor force participation rate has been slowly rising this year, with more people taking jobs,” says NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. “However, the labor shortage continues to be a difficult problem for small businesses.”

Business owners cited the complication of finding workers — particularly quality workers — as their top problem, ahead of inflation. The industries having the most difficulty making payroll are construction and manufacturing, the report said.

Finding employees may be frustrating, but the extra effort required is not stopping small businesses from looking, according to the NFIB. Hiring plans for the rest of the summer remain elevated, as one in five business owners plan to create new positions within the next three months.


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