RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – According to a report from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), 47 percent of small business owners nationwide report that they cannot fill their job openings.

CBS17 crews found many “now hiring” signs across the Triangle on Monday, but learned the vacancies are very industry specific. 

“When I started, they were approaching 30 people. Now, two and a half months later, they’re at about 40 people,” said Michael DeSoto.

Since DeSoto joined “Earth Optics” as a hardware systems engineer, he’s added quite a few co-workers. 

“They keep bringing more people in every couple of weeks,” he explained. 

DeSoto does his work at Hanger Six, which is a part of the First Flight Venture Center. The RTP-based incubator lets him, and other employees with science and tech-focused small businesses, use the high-tech tools and gadgets to create their products.

“We use instrumentation to scan farm fields to provide information,” he explained. “There are these really neat maps the farmers can use to optimize processes and minimize costs.”

The building is filled with entrepreneurs and their teams developing and expanding. And there’s no shortage of people working at each of those companies.

It’s a different story when people walk into different restaurants in Raleigh, like CBS17 crews did on Monday. Signs like “Join the Team” or “Now Hiring” are outside many different establishments. 

Some business owners CBS17 crews spoke with didn’t want to go on camera, but said they’re having to pitch in to help their staff make sure their businesses can run smoothly. And they’re not alone.

According to NFIB, the number of unfilled job openings at small businesses exceeds a 48-year average.
Inflation is also a top concern for business owners, the report notes and it’s forcing many of them to raise prices.

A sign at the cash register at Happy and Hale in Raleigh notified customers that there’s a price adjustment:  “We must temporarily raise the price of our Ahi Poke Bowl… and hope to lower the price as soon as possible.”

CBS17 also spoke with the Regional Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration, Allen Thomas. 

He said businesses had been struggling for two years during the height of the COVID pandemic, and it was going to take time for everyone to recover. Thomas added that he believes it’s promising for the economy to have demand for these services.