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Record Number of Small Businesses Raised Wages

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"Reports of owners raising compensation continues at record-high levels to attract applicants to open positions," says Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

A historic number of small businesses - 50% - raised employee compensation last month, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB).

And 27% of small businesses plan to hike wages within the next three months, according to the group.

"Small business owners are managing the reality that the number of job openings exceeds the number of unemployed workers, producing a tight labor market and adding pressure on wage levels," says NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg.

"Reports of owners raising compensation continues at record-high levels to attract applicants to open positions."

Twenty-three percent of small business owners surveyed by the NFIB cited "labor quality" as their top challenge, while 11% said labor costs were their number one issue.

"Reports of labor costs as the top business problem are at 48-year record high levels."

In other findings:

  • 47% of small business owners had job openings last month that they could not fill;
  • 26% of owners plan to create jobs within the next three months, and;
  • 93% of owners who tried to hire new employees in January 2021 reported "few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill," according to NFIB reports.

"Thirty-six percent of owners have openings for skilled workers and 22% have openings for unskilled labor."


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