Small businesses continue to be pleased with the economy, but finding workers continues to be an obstacle for growth.
The Q4 MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index is at 69.3, down slightly from Q3, but still indicative of positive feelings toward the economy.
In its outlook towards the national economy, 58% of small businesses think it’s in good health, a new high.
They have similar feelings with the state of their local economies. Fifty-six percent noted they’re good, up six points from the third quarter.
While they see the economy is doing well, most small businesses struggle to find enough workers.
Two-thirds of small businesses surveyed said they’re having trouble finding candidates with the skills they needs, and 55% of them say the talent pool is “fair” or “poor.”
As a result, many small business owners and their workforces have had to work longer hours to cope with the shortage.
Hiring difficulties small businesses face are indicative of what companies of all sizes are dealing with across the country.
The latest Federal Reserve Beige Book report on the state of regional economies found, “Over half of the Districts cited firms for which employment, production, and sometimes capacity expansion had been constrained by an inability to attract and retain qualified workers.”
“There are too many people that lack the skills or credentials they need to compete for 21st century jobs and too many businesses that can’t find the workers they need, when and where they need them,” said Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “A lack of skilled workers is going to hold back economic growth for the entire country.”