Small Business Ready to Take Off, But…

May 11, 2018

by John McClaughry

James Freeman of the Wall Street Journal recently reported that the owners of American small businesses continue to create jobs and increase wages. That’s according to the latest employment report from the National Federation of Independent Business.

According to NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg, “The increase in new business establishments is running well ahead of eliminations, a real boost to new employment… While owners of small businesses are ramping up employment, they’re not hiring as many people as they’d like to hire because they simply can’t find the workers. Most of the fifteen hundred participants in the survey reported hiring or trying to hire in April, but a 88% of those trying to add employees reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were aiming to fill.”

Twenty-two percent of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their single most important business problem, “exceeding the percentage citing taxes or regulations. Shortages of qualified workers are clearly holding back economic growth,” says Dunkelberg. Labor markets for both skilled and unskilled workers remain tight.

Business looking for workers is good news, but it’s troubling that they should have so much trouble finding qualified applicants. The unhappy truth is that there are millions of potential workers that are reported as “not in the labor force.” There are always some who can’t work, but there are a distressingly large number especially of young people for whom work doesn’t appeal.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jodi May 12, 2018 at 11:53 am

I am curious about your last statement. Where do you find “a distressingly large number especially of young people for whom work doesn’t appeal.” ? My son is 30, and he and his friends all work hard. The ones who have returned to VT, or remained in VT, seem to be as likely to be well employed and happy as those who moved elsewhere. I agree that we have done a poor job of matching technical education and actual jobs here, and I agree that more can be done to encourage worker development in the trades and technology, but to condemn a whole generation as lazy seems strange. Where is the evidence?

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