The nation’s unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent last month (April, 2018), its lowest level since December 2000, according to today’s (May 4, 2018) monthly employment report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Today’s numbers closely align with yesterday’s NFIB Small Business Economic Trends, a tracking survey that has issued quarterly surveys since 1974 and monthly surveys since 1986.

Employment numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

3.9%, | April’s BLS unemployment rate, its lowest level since December 2000.
164,000 | New jobs generated by U.S. employers during April
$26.84 (2.6% over April 2017) | The average hourly earnings of an American worker

49,000 | Increase in construction and manufacturing jobs
54,000 | Increase in professional and business services jobs

Small Business Economic Statistics released by NFIB

In NFIB’s report, small businesses continue to demonstrate strong economic growth.

57% | Percentage of small business respondents indicated they are hiring or planning to hire, up four points from March.
33% | Percent of small business owners reporting higher worker compensation

Like the BLS jobs numbers released today, NFIB’s job numbers are the best since 2000.

“This month’s jobs report reinforces small business owners’ optimism about the economy. They are hiring, and compensation is up,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “In previous years, small businesses were most concerned about taxes and regulations on their businesses, now they are setting plans to grow, and they want to find workers to fill these jobs.”

88% | Percentage of small businesses with plans to hire who reported difficulties finding qualified candidates.
22% | Percentage of survey respondents who say “difficulty of finding qualified workers” as their single most important business problem. Second month in a row, this is their #1 business problem.
35% | Percentage of owners who say they cannot fill open positions.
12% | Owners who reported using temporary workers, up two points from the previous month.
48% | Percentage of construction companies that cannot fill an open position
48% | Percentage of manufacturing companies that cannot fill an open position

“The shortage of qualified workers is clearly holding back even stronger economic growth,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “The high demand has real impacts. In some industries, nearly half of the firms have unfilled openings. It’s especially severe in construction and manufacturing.”


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