Nearly half of small business owners could not fill job openings last May, according to The National Federation of Independent Business' monthly jobs report. That is a record high. In fact, May marks the fourth consecutive month of record-high readings for unfilled job openings.

Small business owners are doing everything they can to get workers back on their payrolls. NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg says owners are offering higher salaries but in the end, higher labor costs are being passed on to the consumers in higher selling prices.

As the summer tourist season gets under way, there's a fear that small businesses won't be able to open at full capacity because there's just not enough workers.

"Perhaps it's time for Governor Murphy to offer bonuses for those returning to work instead of the $300 additional unemployment subsidy," said Eileen Kean, NFIB New Jersey state director.

According to the monthly jobs report:

  • 61% of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in May.
  • Owners have plans to fill open positions with a seasonally adjusted net 27% planning to create new jobs in the next three months.
  • 93% of owners who are hiring reported few or no "qualified" applications for positions.
  • 32% reported few qualified applicants for their positions and 25% reported none. 40% of small business owners have job openings for skilled workers. 27% have openings for unskilled labor.
  • 8% of small business owners said labor costs is their top business problem while 26% said labor quality is their top problem.

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