(INDIANAPOLIS) – Small business job growth continued in December, but the gains remain uneven as certain sectors of the economy are slowing due to state-mandated business closures and consumer resistance to spend, according to NFIB’s monthly jobs report.
“Small business owners are doing everything they can to protect their customers and their employees from this economic and health pandemic,” said NFIB State Director in Indiana, Barbara Quandt. “Our small business owners are open for business and are trying to hire Hoosiers. That’s why here in Indiana, we are advocating that legislators pass important legislation that will protect our small business owners from the threat of frivolous lawsuits. The last thing that they need right now as they struggle to make it through this pandemic is a lawyer, trying to make a quick buck, try to intimidate small business owners with a long, drawn out court case they can’t afford to fight.”
You can read Quandt’s testimony in front of yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee here.
Small businesses increased employment by 0.3 workers per firm on average over the past few months, an increase of 0.14 workers per firm compared to November’s reading.
Owners are still looking to hire as they reported a historically high level of job openings in December. Thirty-two percent (seasonally adjusted) of owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, down 2 points from November. Twenty-seven percent have openings for skilled workers and 11% have openings for unskilled labor.
Small business employers plan to fill their open positions with a net 17% (seasonally adjusted) reporting they are planning to create new jobs in the next three months, a historically strong reading. Overall, 54% reported hiring or trying to hire in December.
However, many owners are having trouble finding qualified employees for their open positions. Eighty-nine percent of those hiring or trying to hire reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill in December. Down one point from November, 26% of owners reported few qualified applicants for their open positions and 22% reported none (up two points).
Forty-seven percent of the job openings in the construction industry are for skilled workers. Fifty-nine percent of construction firms reported few or no qualified applicants and 33% cited the shortage of qualified labor as their top business problem.
A net 21% (seasonally adjusted) reported raising compensation and a net 14% plan to do so in the coming months. Six percent of owners cited labor costs as their top business problem and 21% said that labor quality was their top business problem.