A new survey from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) has revealed that three years after COVID-19 shutdowns initially began, nearly half of small business owners are still struggling to find employees.
According to the latest NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, 47 percent of owners reported job openings that were hard to fill, remaining at a historically high level. Prior to the onset of the pandemic, that number was around 28 percent.
“We’ve come a long way since the pandemic brought things to a halt in March 2020,” NFIB State Director Dawn McVea said. “It looks like the worst of the pandemic is behind us, but a lot of problems still remain.”
McVea added that she believes the large influx of federal COVID-19 money is still playing a role in the unemployment rates.
“You do have to really ask yourself, ‘What is it that’s keeping people from home?'” McVea continued. “You have to believe that the funding that was out there that still remains out there to a large extent is a factor because obviously, folks can’t survive on nothing.”
Other key findings from the report include:
- 28 percent of business owners reported inflation as their single most important business problem, up two points from January.
- Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months dropped to a net negative 47 percent, a two-point deterioration from January.
- The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased four points from January to a net 38 percent.
- The net percent of owners who expect retail sales to be higher improved five points from January to a net negative 9 percent.
To hear McVea discuss the NFIB’s latest survey in more detail, check out the video below.