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


Apr 3, 2024

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.

NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg noted that job openings among small businesses decreased in February to pre-pandemic levels. Although 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 12% have openings for unskilled labor.

Job openings were highest in the construction, transportation, and wholesale sectors, with over half of construction businesses reporting a job opening they couldn’t fill. On the other hand, job openings were lowest in the agriculture and finance sectors.

By editor

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