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The Job Growth Paradox: Strong Numbers Hide Struggles of Small Businesses


While overall employment figures show robust job growth, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) has unveiled a contrasting scenario for small businesses. According to the NFIB’s latest report, only 11% of small business owners plan to create new jobs over the next three months, marking the lowest level since May 2020. This data highlights a growing disparity in the job market, particularly affecting smaller enterprises.

Insights from the NFIB Report:

  • Recruitment Challenges Persist: The NFIB found that 56% of owners attempted hiring in March, but 86% encountered difficulties finding qualified candidates. This indicates a significant gap in the availability of skilled labor for small businesses.
  • Labor Costs and Retention Issues: With labor quality cited as a top operational problem by 18% of owners, small businesses are pressured to increase wages to attract and retain talent. In fact, a net 38% of owners reported raising compensation last month—a trend that complicates financial planning for many small enterprises.

How Virginia’s Credit Unions Can Assist:

  • Customized Financial Solutions: Credit unions can help alleviate financial pressures by offering tailored loan products and credit solutions that enable small businesses to manage rising labor costs more effectively.
  • Business Advisory Services: Providing expert advice on financial management and strategic planning can help small business owners optimize their operations and navigate current economic challenges.
  • Community Engagement and Networking: By facilitating networking opportunities, credit unions can help small businesses forge new partnerships and find innovative solutions to shared challenges.
  • Skills Development Initiatives: Collaborating with local educational institutions to address skill gaps can aid small businesses in securing the qualified workforce they need.
  • Legislative Support: Your League is actively lobbying members of our congressional delegation to support two pieces of legislation that support veterans and small businesses by expanding their access to credit unions’ Member Business Loans (MBL) and services:
    • H.R. 4868 - The Member Business Loan Expansion Act increases the dollar threshold for loans to be considered MBL to $100,000 from the current threshold of $50,000.
    • H.R.4867- The Veterans Members Business Loan Act exempts loans made to veteran-owned small businesses. We have been successful in having Reps. Wittman (R-01) and Connolly (D-11) sign on as co-sponsors of this legislation.

By leveraging the collective strength and resources of our network, we can help local businesses overcome hiring challenges and contribute to a resilient local economy and legislative landscape.

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