The labor shortage continues to be a major challenge for small businesses as owners compete for workers, according to NFIB’s monthly jobs report. Twenty-two percent of owners reported that labor quality was their top business problem, in second place behind inflation. Eight percent of owners cited labor costs as their top business problem, down three points from February. Small businesses reporting labor costs as the top business problem is at 48-year record high levels.
One of the top prioirities for Iowa small business this legislative session is comprehensive unemployment insurance reform. Policy changes such as adjusting unemployment benefits from 6 months to a maximum of 4 months, adding a one week waiting period, and strengthening work search requirements is crucial to helping modernize Iowa’s unemployment trust fund continues to be solvent long into the future.
“This important legislation is very close to being passed by the legislature. I know the 11,000 plus NFIB members here in Iowa are counting on legislators to pass this bill before they adjourn,” said Matt Everson, NFIB State Director in Iowa. “Finding the right people to fill the thousands of job openings here in Iowa right now is a real concern. Employers are desperately trying to get those help wanted signs out from out of their windows so they can fully staff their businesses. NFIB’s latest research is clear: despite massive increases in wages, workers still remain on the sidelines and jobs continue to go unfilled.”
A net 49% (seasonally adjusted) of owners reported raising compensation, up four points from February. A net 28% plan to raise compensation in the next three months, up two points from February.
Seasonally adjusted, 47% of all small business owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, down one point from February. Thirty-nine percent of owners have openings for skilled workers and 23% have openings for unskilled workers. A seasonally adjusted net 20% are planning to create new jobs in the next three months.
Overall, 60% of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in March. Ninety-two percent of those hiring or trying to hire reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Thirty-two percent of owners reported few qualified applicants for their open positions and 23% reported none.
Sixty-two percent of construction firms reported few or no qualified applicants, one of the tightest domestic labor markets in recent history.