Businesses Added Virtually No Net New Jobs For Month, Have Trouble Finding Skilled Workers
According to the NFIB’s monthly Small Business Economic Trends survey, November was another difficult month for hiring among US small business. According to results from 1,411 NFIB members, job growth was little changed in November, “rising from 0 to 0.01 workers added per firm, not much of an improvement (and not statistically significant).” Of the small business owners surveyed, 11% said they increased employment by an average of 2.6 workers, while 10% said they reduced employment by an average of 2.4 workers. While the number of respondents reporting that they hired or tried to hire was unchanged at 55%, 85% of those hiring or trying to hire “reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill.” The number of owners reporting job vacancies they were unable to fill remained at 27%, the same as previously, and “a solid reading historically” that “suggests no significant change in the unemployment rate.”
What This Means For Small Businesses
Small business job growth remained sluggish in November, which NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg suggested was due to continued inaction from the Federal Reserve on interest rates. He said, “Fed officials are already wavering on raising rates from the 0 floor.” He suggested this sends the message to small businesses that “we think the economy is so fragile that we can’t consider raising rates off the 0 floor even by a quarter point.” Dunkelberg concluded, “No wonder owners rank uncertainty about government policies and the economy as two of their top five business problems out of 75 possible choices.” He projected that the continued economic uncertainty means job growth will “continue to average about 230,000, more than enough to keep some downward pressure on the unemployment rate as the NFIB model predicts.” He said that although “retail sales appear to be solid so far,” there are “fewer workers” necessary because of “a rising number of internet purchases.” Although the construction sector “is holding up,” he warned that “winter is already slowing progress in parts of the country. Unfortunately, all these moving parts will average out to little progress in the labor market.”
The Wall Street Journal also covered the NFIB’s latest Small Business Economic Trends survey results.
Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.