Almost Half of Small Businesses Struggle to Fill Open Jobs

Small businesses are grappling with worker shortages amid the tightest labor market in decades

Small Business Owners

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Amid the tightest labor market in decades, small businesses across the U.S. are grappling with worker shortages and struggling to fill open positions.

Close to half or 47% of small businesses have job openings they can’t fill, according to the latest monthly jobs report by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

More than half or 60% of small business owners said they were hiring or trying to hire in February, up three points from January. However, 30% reported there were few qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill, and 24% said there were no applicants at all. 

To attract workers, 46% of owners said they raised compensation, and a net 23% plan to raise compensation in the next three months, up one point from January. The share of owners citing labor costs as their single most important business problem increased two points to 12%, though that was down one point from the highest reading of 13% reached in December of 2021.

According to NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg, “The small business labor demand remained strong in February. Small business owners are working to maintain competitive compensation and are raising compensation in the hopes of filling their open positions.”

Unfilled Job Openings, Feb. 2023

National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)

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  1. National Federation of Independent Business. "NFIB Jobs Report: Small Businesses Report Record High Levels of Job Openings."

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