As the economy opens up, one way that businesses have been trying to meet the surge in pent-up demand is by hiring more employees. But that’s not easy: A survey out last week from the National Federation of Independent Business found that 42% of small business owners say they’ve recently had trouble filling open positions — a record high.

“Main Street is doing better as state and local restrictions are eased, but finding qualified labor is a critical issue for small businesses nationwide Small business owners are competing with the pandemic and increased unemployment benefits that are keeping some workers out of the labor force. However, owners remain determined to hire workers and grow their business.”

NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg

30% | Percentage of employers offering higher wages.

Dunkelberg said businesses have to compete with the amount of money people are receiving in unemployment benefits. “And, of course, they’re competing with each other for the people who are qualified.”

Other key survey findings include:

  • Seven of 10 NFIB survey components improved and three declined.
  • Sales expectations over the next three months improved eight points to a net 0% of owners, a historically low level.
  • Earnings trends over the past three months declined four points to a net negative 15%.


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