50% of US small-business owners report still vacant job openings

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A trade group on Thursday said the search for eligible workers is still a challenge for businesses, leaving half of small business owners in the United States with unfilled job openings last month.

According to the National Federation of Independent Businesses, 50 percent of small business owners said their job openings were left vacant in August.

The data last month is higher by 28 percent than the 48-year average of 22%.

Furthermore, the report said that 91 percent of business owners reported that they found little to no eligible applicants for the positions they want to be filled in.

With the economic growth expected to boost at its fastest rate in four decades, employers across the nation are still faced with labor shortages. Applicants, on the other hand, are challenged to make decisions given the rapid spread of the more infectious COVID-19 Delta variant.

“Small employers are struggling to fill open positions and find qualified workers resulting in record-high levels of owners raising compensation,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg through a statement. “Owners are raising compensation in an attempt to attract workers and these costs are being passed on to consumers through price hikes for goods and services, creating inflation pressures.”

Moreover, 44 percent of the small businesses who were the respondents of the survey said they presently offer jobs for skilled workers. Some 27 percent, meanwhile, are searching for qualified applicants for unskilled labor.

“Instead of describing the current environment as a labor shortage, we view this as a temporary mismatch between labor supply and demand that will improve in the coming months,” an economist at Oxford Economics, Mahir Rasheed, said, as reported by Reuters.

Last week, the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits has dropped. Layoffs also saw a fall, which hit its lowest-ever in more than two decades in August.