A whopping 40 percent of small business owners were unable to fill job openings last month—a seven-point increase from January.
This finding comes from a new report by the NFIB (a small business advocacy group). The inability to fill jobs comes in spite of the fact that 25 percent of small businesses increased compensation during the same time period, the report finds.
Employers are feeling the crunch, with 24 percent claiming labor quality as their top business problem. Another 51 percent reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they sought to fill, a statistic made all the more troubling as economists predict millions of new jobs by the end of the year.
These findings are quite shocking given the current unemployment numbers in the country, which hover somewhere between 10 million and 18 million out of work (the government doesn’t exactly know). That’s a significant margin, but one that still shows there are plenty of people who should be knocking down the doors of business owners right now seeking employment.
So, where are the workers?
There are several factors that could influence the hesitation to return to the office. The long-delayed reopening of schools has placed a tremendous burden on families. The lack of childcare has been especially harmful for working women. Globally, women have lost their jobs during the pandemic at a rate 1.8 times greater than men and are unlikely to return to work until childcare is available.