The NFIB reported the average change in employment per firm in November at 0.29, more than double the 0.12 in October and the highest since 0.32 in May. Small businesses are picking up the pace on job openings (38% in November after 34% in October) and are increasing plans to hire (21% after 18%). The main problem in expanding their workforces appears to be finding qualified applicants (53% in November and October), an underlying trend that remains as intense as it was in 2018.
More small businesses are planning compensation increases (26% in November after 22% in October and the highest since 25% in November 2018). Actual compensation increases remained solid (30% in November and October), if below some of the peaks in 2018 and earlier this year.
At least among NFIB survey respondents, the labor market remains tight with plentiful jobs and businesses offering improved compensation to attract and retain needed workers.
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