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More small businesses are giving raises

The number of small companies raising wages hit a record high in the U.S. this month, according to the latest National Federation of Independent Business employment survey.

The survey found 35% of small business owners are increasing labor compensation, the highest percentage since NFIB started asking its member businesses the question 1986, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The result contradicts recent U.S. Labor Department reports showing wages nationwide aren’t increasing despite record-high employment numbers.

“Reports of employment gains remain strong among small businesses,” says NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg. “Owners reported adding a net 0.20 workers per firm on average, slower than earlier in the year but strong.The availability of qualified workers is impeding the growth in employment. Job openings are at record high levels.”

NFIB also finds that 23% of business owners cite the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their “single most important business problem”—just one percentage point below the record high set in 2000.

The labor shortage is most acute in the construction industry, with 57% of such firms reporting current job openings. Other industries where wages are also rising to attract workers include transportation, travel, communication, utilities and manufacturing.
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