Employee head count at U.S. small businesses remained stagnant last year, despite record growth among larger firms’ employment, The Wall Street Journal reported. American businesses with 20 employees or less have been sluggish to hire, according to Moody’s Analytics. In contrast, firms with 500 or more people on the payroll grew their workforces by 2.3 percent.
Small businesses’ “problems are symptomatic of what all businesses will be struggling with in the not-so-distant future,” said Moody’s Chief Economist Mark Zandi. “The demographics are overwhelming. Unless we change immigration laws significantly, all businesses will be struggling to find workers. This will become a significant brake on economic growth.”
Furthermore, small businesses in construction, manufacturing, natural resources, retail and transportation are all experiencing especially weak hiring, Zandi added.
“It’s just extremely difficult to find somebody who wants to work, and seems hungry to make money doing sales,” said Mia Allen, co-owner of Rose Pallet in Bridgeview, Illinois — a 10-person company. Allen worked through 300 resumes, and winnowed those to 50 in-person interviews before hiring a consultant to help her company. “When we found the person, it was a quicker process because we didn’t want to dilly-dally and lose her,” she explained.
Cogitic Corporation President and CEO Jared Veteto has hired only two people for his manufacturing organization of just under 20 people after reviewing and interviewing 40 candidates. Cogitic still has 10 additional openings for programmers and manufacturing engineers, Veteto added. “The barrier to hiring more people is finding them,” he said.
According to the latest data from the Small Business Administration, 5.3 million U.S. companies or more have less than 20 employees.