Record number of U.S. small businesses can't fill jobs - NFIB

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

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

July’s reading was 27 points higher than the 48-year historical average of 22 percent.

The report also showed 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 a year.

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

The Labor Department on Friday is expected to report that nonfarm payrolls increased by 870,000 jobs in July after rising 850,000 in the prior month, according to a Reuters survey of economists. At that rate, employment would still be nearly 5.9 million jobs below its February 2020 peak. (Reporting by Evan Sully; editing by Richard Pullin)