The ongoing labor shortage in parts of the country continues to plague small businesses. The NFIB released its small business optimism report revealing that 44% of owners reported job openings can not be filled. Within the report, it showed that the Small Business Optimism Index rose to 99.8 in April, an increase of 1.6 points from March. Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said, "Finding qualified employees remains the biggest challenge for small businesses and is slowing economic growth. Owners are raising compensation, offering bonuses and benefits to attract the right employees."
Jobs were plentiful at the end of March as most of the country has now reopened. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there were a series-high 8.1 million job openings on the last day of March in its Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLTS). The job openings series began in December 2000. Job openings increased in several number of industries with the largest increases in accommodation and food services with +185,000.
The cost to fill your tank jumped in the latest week due in part to the recent cyber attack on the Colonial Pipeline, which delivers approximately 45% of all fuel to the East Coast. The national average price for a regular gallon of gasoline rose 6 cents to $2.98 this week and look for prices to creep higher in the coming weeks. A month ago the price was $2.86, a year ago it was $1.84.