Tennessee Businesses Are Optimistic Despite Lack Of Workers And Higher WC Costs

F.J. Thomas

Johnson City, TN (WorkersCompensation.com) –In early January, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) released a Job Report that indicated an overall 39 percent of employers had job openings they could not fill. When separated out by industry, 49 percent of Construction and 42 percent of Manufacturing had unfilled job openings. A total of 13 percent of all industries utilized Temporary Labor.

While the inability to fill jobs with qualified skilled labor was cited as the top complaint from business owners, higher workers compensation costs were reported as a leading problem as well. Thirty nine percent of businesses reported higher worker compensation costs and 24 percent expected increases within the next few months.

Despite the lack of qualified applicants and higher workers compensation costs, the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index report released in December showed employers had no plans to decrease hiring or lower operating or inventory costs, and expected revenue to continue.

According to Tennessee chapter of NFIB, 60 percent of Tennessee business owners indicated that they had open positions that had not been filled, and 90 percent of those businesses reported a lack of qualified applicants.

In a recent interview with the Johnson City Press, Mark Bays, Director of East Tennessee State University Small Business Development Center , indicated Tennessee falls in line with the national report as the lack of qualified job applicants seems to be an issue everywhere. Bays stated, “I see clients all the time, and it seems like one of the hardest tasks is finding qualified people to fill the openings.” Bays indicated that the hiring process, as well as incentives such as fair wages and benefits, and business dynamics as the keys to worker retention.

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