JEFFERSON CITY (June 3, 2021) – A record-high 48% of small business owners in May reported unfilled job openings (seasonally adjusted), according to NFIB’s monthly jobs report. May is the fourth consecutive month of record-high readings for unfilled job openings and is 26 points higher than the 48-year historical reading of 22%.
“Small business owners here in Missouri continue to struggle to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Brad Jones, NFIB State Director in Missouri. “Thanks to strong leadership from the governor and legislators, Missouri is heading in the right direction: federal unemployment benefits end June 12, which will help incentivize Missourians to get back out in the workplace, the state’s unemployment fund has been replenished to prevent small business owners from facing steep hikes in their unemployment insurance costs, and in the last hours of the legislative session, lawmakers passed liability protection to protect small business owners from frivolous lawsuits. However, today’s survey is a strong message from small business owners. Nearly half are still having trouble finding qualified workers. Until this changes, consumers will face higher costs at small businesses, which are being forced to offer higher wages to try and fix the shortage problem. Small business owners are the backbone of Missouri’s economy. We need them to recover from the pandemic, however, they can’t do that until they can hire workers.”
Sixty-one percent of owners reporting hiring or trying to hire in May. Owners have plans to fill open positions with a seasonally adjusted net 27% planning to create new jobs in the next three months.
A net 34% of owners (seasonally adjusted) reported raising compensation, the highest level in the past 12 months. A net 22% of owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months, up two points from April.
Small business owners continue to report finding qualified employees remains a problem with 93% of owners hiring or trying to hire reported few or no “qualified” applications for the positions they were trying to fill in May. Thirty-two percent of owners reported few qualified applicants for their positions and 25% reported none.
Eight percent of owners cited labor costs as their top business problem and 26% said that labor quality was their top business problem, the top business concern.
Forty percent of small business owners have job openings for skilled workers and 27% have openings for unskilled labor. In the construction industry, 51% of job openings are for skilled workers. Sixty-six percent of construction businesses reported few or no qualified applicants.