May marks the fourth consecutive month setting record-high reading for unfilled job openings

INDIANAPOLIS – A record-high 48 percent 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 percent.

Barbara Quandit

“Unfortunately, this is another new and bad record for small business owners,” said Barbara Quandt, NFIB State Director in Indiana. “Thank goodness that the federal unemployment benefits end here in Indiana on June 19th. The free government checks are a barrier that has been hindering our job-creating small business owners from recovering from this devasting pandemic. The $300 a week federal unemployment benefits are keeping Indiana workers at home. The cost of living here in the Midwest is much cheaper than in California and New York. Hoosiers are making more of staying at home than going back to work. Today’s survey sends 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.”

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 percent planning to create new jobs in the next three months.

A net 34 percent of owners (seasonally adjusted) reported raising compensation, the highest level in the past 12 months. A net 22 percent of owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months, up to two points from April.

Small business owners continue to report finding qualified employees remains a problem with 93 percent 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 percent reported none.

Eight percent of owners cited labor costs as their top business problem and 26 percent 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 percent have openings for unskilled labor. In the construction industry, 51 percent of job openings are for skilled workers. Sixty-six percent of construction businesses reported few or no qualified applicants.

Click here to view the full NFIB jobs report.