Nearly half of U.S. small business owners report record job openings

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Aug 5 - Nearly half of U.S. small business owners reported unfilled job openings in July, a record high and more than double the historic average, a trade group said on Thursday

The National Federation of Independent Business said in its monthly job report that 49% of small business owners reported unfilled job openings in July, up from 46% in June on seasonally adjusted basis.

July's reading was 27 points higher than the current average of 22 percent for 48-year olds.

The report also revealed that 93% of owners who were looking to hire reported few or no qualified applications for the positions they were trying to fill in July.

Small businesses continued to grapple with labor shortages over the summer exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic that has weighed on business activity for more than one year.

Forty-three percent of small businesses surveyed had openings for unskilled workers, while 25% had openings for skilled labor, both up 3 points to June, the report said.

The labor department on Friday is expected to report that nonfarm payrolls increased in July by 870,000 jobs after climbing 850,000 in the prior month, according to a Reuters survey of economists. At this rate, employment would still be nearly 5.9 million jobs below its February 2020 peak.