The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) found that more small businesses in the US are raising wages now than over the past three decades.  The May jobs report reveled that a ” seasonally adjusted 35 percent of small business owners reported they have increased labor compensation in order to recruit new employees or retain the ones they already have”, the highest percentage of small firms claiming so on record.

The NFIB believes the high number of wage increases comes on the heels of a strong economy, low unemployment rate, and tax reform that was put in place in early 2018.  With an unemployment rate of under 4%, according to a Center for Immigration Studies analysis of Census Bureau data, the labor force for Americans without a college degree is also high standing at 70%, which is only “six percentage points below the rate in 2000.

With a large call for qualified employment, many are now calling for an increase in H-2B visas for foreign guest workers.  This would allow American small businesses to bring in more talent to fill positions that are currently going unfilled.  “83 percent of responding businesses reported having difficulty finding qualified candidates for the positions they were trying to fill, the NFIB report also found. A lack of qualified workers was the single most pressing issue for 23 percent of business owners—the highest share since 2000 and one percentage point below the all-time survey high, according to NFIB.”

A strong economy means opportunity for many and it appears that the issue of immigration will now jump to the forefront as more talent is needed within the country.