Wisconsin NFIB Head Says Worker Shortage, Inflation Have Caused ‘Mess on Main Street’

by Benjamin Yount


The ongoing difficulty of finding workers in Wisconsin is just part of the problem for small businesses in the state.

new report from Help Advisor said Wisconsin is ranked third in the nation when it comes to the trouble of finding workers. Only Missouri and Vermont are ranked worse.

But Bill Smith with NFIB in Wisconsin said things are actually worse than the survey suggests.

“Our members tell us that 51% of them have job openings that they can’t fill. That’s up 4% from April, by the way,” Smith explained to The Center Square. “This a historic number, and comes against the backdrop of 46% of members who’ve reported raising compensation.”

The Help Advisor survey says 44% of Wisconsin businesses have had trouble finding workers.

Wisconsin’s worker shortage is not new, the state has struggled for years to find enough qualified and willing workers.

Still, Smith said this year’s worker shortage is different and comes at a particularly bad time for small businesses.

“There’s a worker shortage. We can’t really provide for our guests and our customers as we’d like to because we don’t have enough workers. Then you have inflation coming in and raising the price of the goods and services that we provide our customers. Then you throw in supply disruptions, where you can’t even get some products on a timely basis, and you have a mess on Main Street,” Smith said.

Smith added that the NFIB’s confidence reports show many small business owners don’t think things will improve any time soon.

“Our monthly economic trend reports always measure the optimism of Main Street. How are they feeling?” Smith said. “This last one that just came out, through May, was the fifth consecutive month where the optimism index fell. And it’s the fifth consecutive month where optimism was below the 48-year-average. So they’re not feeling real optimistic on Main Street about coming out of this.”

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Benjamin Yount is a contributor to The Center Square.
Photo “Help Wanted Sign” by Andreas Klinke Johannsen. CC BY-SA 2.0.

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