Small Biz Group Says Rising Jobless Come Fall

April 13, 2001 ( - Small business owners had less trouble filling jobs last month, but the jobless rate could be on the rise as well.

Economists at the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), a small-business lobbying group, see the unemployment rate rising to 5% by the fall.

The group reported in their monthly survey of small businesses that during March, more than a quarter (26%) of small business owners surveyed said they had difficult-to-fill job openings. However, that was less than February’s 32% level, a three- year record.

The figures are consistent with other economic indicators such as the recent rise in unemployment insurance claims to five-year highs, last weeks 4.3% March unemployment figure, and the recent fall in help-wanted advertisements.

The NFIB index, which measures factors such as inventory levels and hiring plans, slipped to 97.8 from 98.4 in February, measured against the base year of 1986.