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From an editorial in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal. Emphasis added.
The latest data from a monthly survey of small businesses comes as a jarring reminder of what life was like back in the halcyon days of … March. On Thursday the National Federation of Independent Business will release last month’s polling of 627 of its members. A majority of the responses, the NFIB says, arrived before the coronavirus clampdown.
Fifty-four percent of the surveyed companies said they were hiring, or trying to hire, and 24% said their No. 1 problem was finding qualified workers. Overall, 35% of the businesses said they had job openings that they were unable to fill. The labor pinch was especially sharp in the construction industry, with unfilled jobs at 56% of companies…
A net 31% of the businesses reported giving workers a raise, with a net 16% intending to do so in coming months. A net 9%, seasonally adjusted, planned to create new jobs. That’s a reasonably good number, though it’s down 12 points from February, perhaps reflecting hesitation as the coronavirus spread. Now many of those employers will have to cut pay or lay off workers. The latest monthly report from the payroll processor ADP, which covers the period through March 12, shows a drop in private nonfarm employment of 27,000.