Almost half of all small businesses last month hired or tried to hire new workers, but nearly three quarters of them reported difficulty finding qualified applicants, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).
According to the monthly NFIB Economic Trends Report, due out next week, employment among small businesses was weak but still positive. Twelve percent of small employers reported hiring an average of 3.3 employees over the past several months. Slightly more, 14 percent, say they reduced workers by an average of 2.9 percent. The remaining 74 percent of small businesses made no changes in hiring.
“New York small businesses are under assault from two directions, so it isn’t surprising that there’s not a lot of enthusiasm for hiring additional workers,” said Mike Durant, NFIB State Director. “In Washington we’ve got an aggressively anti-business administration that has campaigned for three years to raise income taxes and impose more regulations. And in Albany we’ve got legislators pushing to raise labor costs with a higher minimum wage.
“Under those circumstances it’s easy to see why small businesses owners in New York are just trying to hunker down,” he continued.
The big news in the data, which could be construed as positive, is that many employers are trying to hire but they’re having a hard time finding qualified people to fill the jobs.
“This trend has been developing for several months. The good news is that more employers are trying to hire. The bad news is that the labor pool doesn’t match their needs,” said Durant.
According to the national data, 47 percent of small business owners hired or tried to hire new workers in the past three months. Thirty four percent said there were few or no qualified candidates out there. In other words, 72 percent of the employers trying to fill jobs have been unable to find qualified candidates.
“The good news is that on a national level, more small businesses are trying to fill jobs. The bad news is that there seems to be a real shortage of qualified workers can fill them, “said Durant. “This is a serious problem because it suggests that some of the people who are out of work now could be unemployed for a very long time unless there’s better education and training available.”
The NFIB Small Business Economic Trends Report is due out next Tuesday. For a copy of the report, and for more small business news, please visit www.nfib.com.