Business owners dish on jobs, skilled worker shortage

Small business optimism is rebounding after hitting its lowest level since the 2016 presidential election. According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) president Juanita Duggan, companies are putting the government shutdown behind them and hiring more workers.

“We know from our research that those declines in December and January were definitely caused by the government shutdown,” Duggan told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on Wednesday. “There are a million workers who were unemployed for that period of time and it affected sales … We also hit a 45-year record for job creation in February, so that’s very interesting news.”

Finding qualified workers to fill available jobs has been the main concern for NFIB members over the last six months, according to Duggan, who is also on the White House American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.

“Skills is a big thing, work history, but you also see high levels of responses that say it’s attitude, showing up on time, the ability to pass a drug test or unreasonable wage expectations,” she said. “So some of these things are not problems that need to be solved by going back to school or worker training.  These are the soft skills anybody can learn.”


According to the report, 49% of business owners reported few or no qualified applicants for available jobs and 37% of business owners had job openings they couldn’t fill.