Magazine article Economic Trends

Small Business Employment

Magazine article Economic Trends

Small Business Employment

Article excerpt

EMPLOYMENT

Over the past three months, 10 percent percent of all owners of operating firms reported increasing employment and 15 percent reported reducing employment. Operating small firms added a seasonally adjusted average of minus 0.04 employees per firm in February.

The percent of owners with at least one "hard to fill" job opening rose one point to a seasonally adjusted 20 percent of all firms. This reading is well below the 35 percent reading reached in 2000, but above recession readings of 10 percent reached in 1991. Fifteen (15) percent reported at least one opening for a skilled employee and 2 percent reported at least one opening for an unskilled employee.

Plans to increase total employment dropped four points in February to a seasonally adjusted net 13 percent of all firms. A seasonally adjusted 37 percent of owners reported that they have few or no qualified applicants for their job openings, up four points from January.

Nine percent characterized the unavailability of workers with appropriate skills as their number-one business problem, unchanged from January.

The use of temporary employees was reported by 12 percent of all owners, down one point from January.

[GRAPHICS OMITTED]

Small Business Actual Employment Changes
Net Percent ("Increase" Minus "Decrease") in the Last Three Months
(Seasonally Adjusted)

       Jan   Feb   Mar   Apr   May   Jun   Jul   Aug   Sep   Oct   Nov

1999     3     8     0    -2     2     0     5    12     4     8     6
2000     4     2     2    -1     1     1     5     6     4     7     3
2001     4     1    -8    -4    -5    -6     0     1    -2     1    -3
2002    -5    -2    -4    -7    -3    -4    -2     2    -1     1    -2
2003    -3    -1    -5    -7    -7    -4    -3     6     2     4     0
2004     0     0

       Dec

1999     6
2000     3
2001    -4
2002     0
2003     4
2004

Small Business Average Employment Changes
Average Changes in Employment for all Firms During Last Three Months
(Seasonally Adjusted)

         Jan     Feb     Mar     Apr     May     Jun     Jul     Aug

1999    0.21    0.39    0.18    0.07   -0.11   -0.24    0.06    0.19
2000    0.15    0.15    0.23    0.23    0.01    0.22    0.04   -0.10
2001    0.02    0.04   -0.42    0.11   -0.20   -0.13   -0. … 
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