Welcome to the Small Business Run Down. Each day, we bring you stories and trends that impact small business owners and their workforce.
We like to lead with the good news, so we’ll start by checking in with the National Federation of Independent Businesses and their Optimism Index before looking at the increasing number of workers quitting their jobs and what the decreasing fertility rate means for the economy.
The National Federation of Independent Businesses reports that it’s Optimism Index for small businesses gained 1.7 points last month, indicating that small businesses are rebounding after a slower start during Q1 of this year. Sales figures improved in April and plans for hiring and job creation remain strong, despite the current labor shortage. Almost a quarter of business owners report that finding and hiring qualified candidates is their chief business concern. Yikes.
The Number: 86%. Of all the SBOs hiring or trying to hire in April, 86% reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill.
The Quote: “The ‘real’ economy is doing very well versus what we see in financial market volatility. Many jobs are being created, and GDP produced with no substantive inflation pressure. The pace of economic growth has accelerated, and consumers and small businesses are an important part of the improvement in sales.”
Hiring isn’t the only problem SBOs have to worry about in the current labor market, however. Employees are quitting at higher rates, too, with the transportation, healthcare and social services, government, food services and accommodations, and construction sectors all seeing the number of workers quitting increase by double digits. Education, finance, manufacturing and real estate industries saw a decrease in their employee attrition
The Number: 8.9%. Quitting rose by 8.9% across the entire labor market from the last quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2019, while employees leaving the transportation, warehousing and sector jumped by nearly 20%.
The Quote: “In other words, quitting is an indication that employees and job seekers are more confident. Employers that ignore this trend and fail to adjust pay risk losing valued employees.”
The Centers for Disease Control issued a report indicating that the US birth rate continues to decline despite a strong economy, causing alarm about the fate of ailing baby boomers, the state of social security and the future of the labor market. Researchers note that the birth rate dropped ahead of the past three recessions, while social scientists point to issues such as static wage growth, a lack of a national paid family leave plan and the cost of child care as possible explanations for the drop in deliveries.
The Number: 3.79 million. In 2018, 3.79 million babies were born in the United States, representing the lowest birth rate in thirty-two years.
The Quote: “The birthrate is a barometer of despair.”
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