Labor shortage seen as major problem by corporate CEOs and small business owners.

A pair of surveys shows corporate executives and small business owners share a common concern: the labor shortage threatens their business plans.

The Business Roundtable reports:

When asked to identify the most significant impediments or threats to their company’s U.S. investment, hiring and growth plans over the next year, CEOs cited continued difficulty finding and retaining qualified workers, adverse changes to U.S. corporate tax policy and slow progress in global vaccinations as their main concerns.  

The finding comes from the BR’s CEO Economic Outlook Survey, which also finds a lowering of expectations.

The overall CEO Economic Outlook Index decreased in the third quarter to a value of 114, down 2 points from Q2 2021. The three subindices were as follows:

• Plans for hiring increased 5 points to a value of 108.

• Plans for capital investment increased 2 points to a value of 108.

• Expectations for sales decreased 14 points to a value of 126.

In their fourth estimate of 2021 U.S. GDP growth, CEOs project 4.8 percent growth for the year, a 0.2 percentage point decrease from their estimate last quarter.

Similarly, today’s NFIB monthly jobs reports finds the labor shortage to be top concern for small businesses.

Fifty-one percent (seasonally adjusted) of small business owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up one point from August and a record-high reading for the second consecutive month, according to NFIB’s monthly jobs report. The number of unfilled job openings continues to exceed the 48-year historical average of 22%.

“More and more small business owners are struggling to find workers for their open positions,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “For most small employers, labor costs are the largest operating outlay and owners will be compelled to pass those costs on to their customers by raising prices.”

A net 42% (seasonally adjusted) of owners reported raising compensation, up one point from August and a 48-year record high reading. A net 30% plan to raise compensation in the next three months, up four points from August’s record high reading.

Overall, 67% of small employers reported hiring or trying to hire in September, up one point from August. Small business owners’ plans to fill open positions remain at record high levels, with a seasonally adjusted net 26% planning to create new jobs in the next three months, down six points from August and the fifth-highest reading in the 48-year history of the survey and well above the historical average reading of a net 11%.

Calculated Risk, in a preview of tomorrow’s jobs report, reminds us of how much employment has declined during the pandemic.

…currently there are still about 5.3 million fewer jobs than in February 2020 (before the pandemic).

Perhaps with the fall sidelined workers will re-enter the job market. Outstanding opportunities exist throughout the state and national economies.