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April 05, 2018

Trump in West Virginia; U.S. Jobs Market Almost Heaven

Hiring is soaring and wages are rising at American small businesses. That’s according to the latest employment report from the National Federation of Independent Business, due out later today.

Owners of small firms surveyed in March reported a seasonally adjusted average employment increase per firm of 0.36 workers. This is “one of the best readings in survey history,” according to NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg.

As in recent months, while such firms have been increasing employment, they’re still not hiring nearly as many people as they would like to hire. They simply can’t find enough workers. According to Mr. Dunkelberg: “Thirty-five percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up one point and tied with July and October 2017 for the highest reading since November 2000.”

Hard as it may be to find qualified workers, the latest NFIB report finds that small-business owners haven’t given up trying. A seasonally adjusted net 20% are planning to create new jobs, which is up two points from the February reading and close to a record high. “Except for the last four months, the last time job creation plans reached 20% was in 1999,” adds Mr. Dunkelberg.

This fresh evidence of a vibrant economy arrives as President Donald Trump prepares to participate in a roundtable discussion this afternoon in West Virginia. The event will focus on the impact of the tax cuts he enacted in December, and will feature workers who are now enjoying bonuses, raises and lower tax rates.

Pay is certainly rising among workers at small firms, as NFIB finds that 33% of owners raised compensation to attract or keep employees in March. This is the highest level since November of 2000, and it suggests that tomorrow’s government employment report on the broader economy will contain more good news.

As the President makes his fourth trip to the Mountain State since taking office, no doubt many workers will be looking for even more good news. Specifically, they’ll want to hear about burgeoning Republican plans to make the Trump tax cuts permanent.

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