Small business owners are continuing to hire at near-record levels, according to a monthly jobs report published by the National Federation of Independent Business. Sixty-three percent of owners reported either hiring or attempting to hire new employees in the last month, an increase of five points from the previous month, and the highest level of activity in nearly twenty years.
A seasonally-adjusted 20% of businesses owners also plan to create new jobs, up two points from May, according to the NFIB.
“Small business owners, once again, are continuing to be the driving force of our economy by hiring at record levels and adding new jobs,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “The number of owners hiring or looking for workers strengthened.”
The number one challenge for small businesses owners is hiring qualified workers. Twenty-one percent of owners say finding qualified workers to fill job openings was their “single most important business problem.” Thirty-six of business owners claimed job openings they could not fill, matching a record high not seen since November 2000.
As a result, 31% of owners surveyed said they raised compensation in order to make their job offers more competitive.
“Right now, more firms are looking for workers than workers looking for a job,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “The competition for existing workers has tightened the labor market for both skilled and unskilled workers.”
Owners also said they would be investing in more resources for training of both new and existing employees.
The job market continues to keep up its blistering pace. On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the U.S. economy added 213,000 jobs in June, showing an economy that is growing at near-record levels.
The unemployment rate ticked up to 4% from 3.8%, but even that news was viewed as a positive, as about 601,000 Americans have re-joined the workforce, which is the reason the rate rose. The market is so strong, many people who had previously given up looking for work have started again.
June marked the 93rd straight month of positive job growth in the U.S. and the current economic expansion is the second longest in the nation’s history.
Photo by Dave Faytinger via U.S. Air Force