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As a tight labor market makes filling positions more difficult, 26% of U.S. small-business owners plan to increase pay in coming months, the most since a record in 1989, according to a National Federation of Independent Business report out Dec. 5.
The November survey showed finding qualified workers remains the biggest challenge for respondents. Of those trying to hire, 88% reported “few or no qualified applicants for the job.” Still, 21% of companies have plans to add to payrolls, the most since July.
But increasing wages has its consequences for business owners. Ten percent said labor costs were the biggest problem, 1 percentage point below the all-time high reached in September.
The group’s figures surface a day before the Labor Department’s jobs report, which is projected to show employers added 184,000 workers in November after 128,000 a month earlier.
NFIB’s survey reflects 500 responses of a random sample of 10,000 small-business owners.
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