(The Center Square) – The latest look at Wisconsin’s small businesses shows nearly half of them are struggling.
A new report from the National Federation of Independent Businesses says 44% of small businesses in the state have vacancies they cannot fill.
“The labor shortage continues to challenge small businesses as they struggle to emerge from the devastating economic impact of COVID-19,” said NFIB Wisconsin State Director Bill G. Smith.
The number of small businesses with vacant jobs and without workers has been increasing since the end of January. Smith says the historic average for vacancies in Wisconsin is half of what it is now, just 22%.
“The tight job market is hampering our small business owners and could be detrimental to the recovery of Wisconsin’s economy after the pandemic,” Smith said.
The 44% of companies that cannot find workers are pale compared to the over 90% of companies that say they cannot find “skilled” workers.
“Ninety-two percent of owners who hire or try to hire report few or no ‘qualified’ candidates for the positions they were trying to fill in April,” the report said.
To counter the trend, Smith said small business owners in Wisconsin were offering more money or other incentives.
“A net 31% reported an increase in compensation, the highest level in the past 12 months,” the report notes. “A net 20% of owners plan to increase their compensation over the next three months.”
Smith says the shortages affect all small businesses, from restaurants to construction companies.
“Small business owners are trying to recover from mandatory shutdowns and are now struggling to find workers to fill vacancies,” Smith added.