Job Openings at U.S. Small Businesses Increase to Fresh Record

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A record share of U.S. small-business owners reported unfilled positions in April, and firms are offering higher wages to lure workers, the National Federation of Independent Business said.

Some 44% of firms had job openings last month, and 59% of owners reported adding workers or trying to hire, the NFIB said in a report published Thursday. Almost one-third of small businesses raised compensation, the largest share in more than a year, and more companies said they plan to raise worker pay.

“The tight labor market is the biggest concern for small businesses who are competing with various factors such as supplemental unemployment benefits, childcare and in-person school restrictions, and the virus,” Bill Dunkelberg, the NFIB’s chief economist, said in a statement.

“Many small business owners who are trying to hire are finding themselves unsuccessful and are having to delay the hiring or offer higher wages,” Dunkelberg said.

Within construction, 58% of respondents reported few or no qualified applicants.

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