U.S. small businesses reported a historically high level of job openings in November, according to the November monthly jobs report from the National Federation of Independent Business NFIB’s monthly jobs report. Overall, 53% reported hiring or trying to hire in November, down 2 percentage points from the previous month. A seasonally adjusted net 21% of owners are planning to create new jobs in the next three months, up 3 points from October. 

“This survey shows that our small business owners here in Iowa feel better about where the economy is headed,” said Matt Everson, NFIB state director in Iowa. “Let’s not forget that the service and retail industries continue to suffer, according to another recent NFIB survey. However, with the recent news from Gov. Kim Reynolds that nearly 200,000 vaccines will be here in Iowa this month, small business owners should feel optimistic that the economy will rebound to the levels we saw pre-pandemic.”

The national survey was based on responses from 561 NFIB members surveyed during November. 

On a seasonally adjusted basis, 34% of small business owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up 1 point from October’s reading. Eighty-nine percent of those owners trying to hire reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Twenty-seven percent of owners reported few qualified applications for their positions and 20% reported none. 

Skilled positions are more difficult to fill, as shown by the survey. Twenty-nine percent of owners have openings for skilled labor, while 13% have openings for unskilled labor.

Among construction firms, 42% of the job openings in construction are for skilled workers, down 2 points. Fifty-three percent of construction firms reported few or no qualified applicants and 37% cited the shortage of qualified labor as their top business problem. 

Nearly 1 in 4 of small business owners — a net 24%, seasonally adjusted — reported raising compensation during the month, and a net 20% plan to do so in the coming months, reflecting the tight labor market. 

To view the report, click here.