Labor shortages affect 47% of companies in Q3, up from 39% in Q2: NABE

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October 25, 2021

Nearly half of companies, 47%, experienced labor shortages in the third quarter, according to the “October 2021 NABE Business Conditions Survey” released today by the National Association for Business Economics. That’s up from 39% in a second-quarter survey.

The shortfall was most acute in the goods-producing sector, according to NABE.

While 27% cited a shortage of applicants, 20% reported having plenty of applicants but too few matches.

None of the NABE respondents believe the worker shortage will abate this year. However, 36% believe it will happen sometime in 2022 and 14% believe it will happen in 2023 or later. Nearly a quarter, 24%, of respondents cited “Don’t know/NA,” indicating the uncertainty in the labor market.

Other findings in the report:

  • 58% of respondents indicated that wages rose in the third quarter, up from 51% who said the same in the second-quarter survey. No panelists reported falling wages in the third quarter.
  • Hiring decelerated. It found 30% of respondents cited increased employment at their firms during the third quarter while 7% reported declines. In comparison, 33% in the second quarter reported employment had risen at their firms.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic pushed many companies to institute remote-work policies. Almost two-thirds, 65%, of respondents indicate that their firms will implement a flexible/hybrid work environment even after the pandemic subsides — up from 61% in the July survey.
  • 66% of respondents believe real GDP in the US will grow between 3.0% and 5.9% from Q3 2021 to Q3 2022.

The survey included responses from 91 NABE members and took place from Oct. 6 to Oct. 14.

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