(The Center Square) – Small businesses around Massachusetts continue to struggle to find qualified employees, according to a business advocacy group.
In a news release, the National Federation of Independent Businesses said that 51% of small business owners say that are struggling to fill employee vacancies with qualified applicants, while the number of unfilled job openings continues to exceed the organization’s 48-year average of 22%.
“This is an unfortunate trend developing in Massachusetts month after month: employers are struggling to adequately staff their business,” said NFIB state director Christopher Carlozzi in the release. “What is making matters worse is that as small businesses attempt to hire and bring workers back into the workforce, the maximum weekly benefit for unemployment increased by 14 percent last week. This amount remains the highest in the nation."
In an effort to fill vacancies, the organization reports that 42% of small business owners are raising compensation to an all-time high, and 30% plan to raise compensation over the next three months.
Meanwhile, according to the release, 67% of employers tried to fill vacancies in September as the need continues for qualified workers.
However, the organization reported, 92% of small businesses looking to hire employees reported few or no qualified applicants for open positions, and 34% reported very few qualified applicants for jobs and 28% reported they received zero qualified candidates.
The Massachusetts unemployment rate was 5.0% for the month of August, falling slightly below the national average of 5.2%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
Meanwhile, there were 4,505 initial unemployment claims filed during the week ending Oct. 2, down 314 from the previous week’s total of 4,819 new claims, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Continued claims in the state fell by 2,870 to 56,083, down from the previous week’s total of 58,953.
New claims for pandemic unemployment increase by 112 from 923 to 811. The number of those claiming Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance decreased by 4,704 to just 1,200 claiming benefits on Sept. 18.