Small Business Job Openings Reach Pre-Pandemic Levels, But Labor Demand Remains High

Small-Business Employment Growth Slows Down: Report from American Drycleaner

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) released its monthly jobs report, revealing that 37% of small business owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period. This is a decrease from January and the lowest reading since January 2021. Additionally, the percentage of owners reporting labor quality as their top small business operating problem declined to 16%, the lowest since April 2020.

Small business job openings decreased in February to pre-pandemic levels, according to NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. Despite this, employment activity has slowed, labor demand remains strong as owners find it easier to locate qualified workers. Owners’ plans to fill open positions have also slowed, with a net 12% planning to create new jobs in the next three months, the lowest level since May 2020.

The report also highlighted that labor costs are a growing concern for business owners, with 11% reporting it as their single most important problem. Despite this, 56% of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in February. However, 91% of those trying to hire reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were attempting to fill.

In terms of compensation, a net 35% of owners reported raising it, the lowest reading since May 2021. Looking ahead, a net 19% plan to raise compensation in the next three months, indicating a slight decline. The report also showed that 32% of owners have openings for skilled workers while

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