National Federation of Independent Business: 48% of owners reported job openings they could not fill

MADISON (March 7, 2022) – Small businesses continued to struggle to increase their
workforce in February, with 22% of owners reporting that labor quality was their top
business problem, according to NFIB’s monthly jobs report. Eleven percent of owners cited labor costs as their top business problem, unchanged from January. Reports of labor costs as the top business problem are at 48-year record high levels, only two points below the December 2021 record.
“This latest small business report shows that the cost and availability of labor continues to challenge small business owners with record high job openings,” said Bill G. Smith, NFIB State Director in Wisconsin. “There is a package of bills that the legislature recently approved that would provide unemployed individuals with incentives and encouragement to join or return to the workforce. Wisconsin has a real worker shortage right now that is challenging our small business owners. The bills, which are sitting on the governor’s desk right now waiting to be signed, include key provisions to address that labor shortage. NFIB strongly encourages the governor to sign the bills into law.”
Seasonally adjusted, 48% of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the
current period, up one point from last month. The number of unfilled job openings exceeds the 48-year historical average of 23%.
Small business owners’ plans to fill open positions remain high, with a seasonally adjusted net 19% planning to create new jobs in the next three months.
Overall, 61% of all employers reported hiring or trying to hire in February, up two points
from January’s report. Ninety-three percent of those owners hiring or trying to hire
reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Thirty-one
percent of owners reported few qualified applicants for their open positions and 26%
reported none.

Also seasonally adjusted, a net 45% of owners reported raising compensation, down five
points from January’s 48-year record high reading. A net 26% of owners plan to raise
compensation in the next three months.
Up one point from January, 37% of owners have openings for skilled workers and 25% of
owners have openings for unskilled labor, up three points. Fifty-eight percent of the job
openings in the construction industry are for skilled workers. Sixty-seven percent of
construction firms reported few or no qualified applicants, displaying one of the tightest
domestic labor markets.