Now You Can Rent a Robot Worker For Less Than Paying a Human

Polar Manufacturing has been making ​metal ​hinges, locks, and brackets ​in south Chicago for more than 100 years. Some of the company’s metal presses—hulking great machines that loom over a worker—date from the 1950s. Last year, to meet rising demand amid a shortage of workers, Polar hired its first robot employee.

The robot arm performs a simple, repetitive job: lifting a piece of metal into a press, which then bends the metal into a new shape. And like a person, the robot worker gets paid for the hours it works.

​Jose Figueroa​, who manages Polar’s production line, says the robot, which is leased from a company called Formic, costs the equivalent of $8 per hour, compared with a minimum wage of $15 per hour for a human employee. Deploying the robot allowed a human worker to do different work, increasing output, Figueroa says.

“Smaller companies sometimes suffer because they can’t spend the capital to invest in new technology,” Figueroa says. “We’re just struggling to get by with the minimum wage increase.”

The fact that Polar didn’t need to pay $100,000 upfront to buy the robot, and then spend more money to get it programmed, was crucial. Figueroa says that he’d like to see 25 robots on the line within five years. He doesn’t envisage replacing any of the company’s 70 employees, but says Polar may not need to hire new workers.

Formic buys standard robot arms, and leases them along with its own software. They’re among a small but growing number of robots finding their way into workplaces on a pay-as-you-go basis.

The pandemic has led to shortages of workers across numerous industries, but many smaller firms are reluctant to write big checks for automation.“Cost declines are great for the diffusion of a technology.” Andrew McAfee, principle research scientist, MIT

“Anything that can help reduce labor count or the need for labor is obviously a plus at this particular time,” says Steve Chmura, chief operating officer at Georgia Nut, a confectionery company in Skokie, Illinois, that has been struggling to find employees and also rents robots from Formic.

The robot-as-employee approach could help automation spread into smaller businesses more rapidly by changing the economics. Companies such as Formic see an opportunity to build large businesses by serving many small firms. Many are mining the data they collect to help refine their products and improve customers’ operations.

Shahan Farshchi, an investor in Formic, likens the state of robotics today to computing before personal computers took off, when only rich companies could afford to invest in massive computer systems that required considerable expertise to program and maintain. Personal computing was enabled by companies including Intel and Microsoft that made the technology cheap and easy to use. “We’re entering that same time now with robots,” Farshchi says.

Robots have been taking on new jobs in recent years as the technology becomes more capable as well as easier and cheaper to deploy. Some hospitals use robots to deliver supplies and some offices employ robotic security guards. The companies behind these robots often provide them on a rental basis.

Jeff Burnstein, president of the Association for Advancing Automation, an industry body, says rising demand for automation among smaller companies is driving interest in robotics as a service. The approach has seen particular traction among warehouse fulfillment firms, Burnstein says.

It might eventually become normal to pay robots to do all sorts of jobs, Burnstein says, pointing to RoboTire, a startup developing a robot capable of switching the tires on a car. “As more and more companies automate in different industries, you’re seeing more receptivity to robotics as a service,” he says. Search our artificial intelligence database and discover stories by sector, tech, company, and more.

The International Federation of Robotics, an organization that tracks robot trends globally, projected in October that the number of robots sold last year would grow 13 percent. One market analysis from 2018 projected the number of industrial robots that are leased or that rely on subscription software will grow from 4,442 units in 2016 to 1.3 million in 2026.

“Cost declines are great for the diffusion of a technology,” says Andrew McAfee, a principle research scientist at MIT who studies the economic implications of automation.

McAfee says robots themselves have become cheaper and more user friendly in recent years thanks to the falling cost of sensors and other components, a trend that he expects will continue. “They are the peace dividend of the smartphone wars,” he says.

Dustin Pederson, CFO of Locus Robotics, a company that leases robots for use in warehouses, says his company’s revenue has grown sixfold over the past year amid rising demand for ecommerce and a shortage of workers. “To be able to step in with a subscription model makes automation a lot friendlier,” Pederson says. “And we are still early on in the overall adoption of robotics in the warehousing industry.”

It’s unclear—even to economists—what impact the growing use of robots will have on the supply of jobs. Research from Daron Acemoglu and Pascual Restrepo, economists at MIT and Boston University, respectively, suggests that the adoption of robots from 1990 to 2020 resulted in fewer jobs and lower wages overall.

But one study of robot adoption in Japanese nursing homes, from January 2021, found that the technology helped create more jobs by allowing for more flexibility in working practices. And another study, from 2019, also found that robot adoption among Canadian businesses had often affected managers more than workers by changing business processes.

Lynn Wu, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and a coauthor on the 2019 study, says she expects robots paid by the hour to become more common. But she notes that in contrast to many information technologies, few businesses know how to use robots. “It’s going to take longer than people think,” she says.

For now, most robots found in industrial settings are relatively dumb, following precise movements repetitively. Robots are gradually becoming smarter thanks to use of artificial intelligence, but it remains very challenging for machines to respond to complex environments or uncertainty. Some researchers believe that adding AI to robots will prompt companies to reorganize in ways that have a bigger impact on jobs.

Saman Farid, CEO of Formic, says the company hopes to position itself to be able to offer more capable robots to all sorts of companies in the future. “Robots are going to be able to do a lot more tasks over the next 5 to 10 years,” Farid says. “As machine learning gets better, and you get to a higher level of reliability, then we’ll start implementing those.”

By:

Will Knight is a senior writer for WIRED, covering artificial intelligence. He was previously a senior editor at MIT Technology Review, where he wrote about fundamental advances in AI and China’s AI boom. Before that, he was an editor and writer at New Scientist. He studied anthropology and journalism in the UK before turning his attention to machines.

Source: Now You Can Rent a Robot Worker—for Less Than Paying a Human  | WIRED

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Will Inflation Last Into 2023? Global CEOs Say Yes, While Key Price Indicator Hits Record Level

Inflation is worrying chief executives globally, according to a survey released Thursday by the Conference Board, a business research group, and data shared by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Thursday backs their concerns.

Key Facts

Some 55% of CEOs expect higher prices to last until mid-2023 or beyond next year, according to the survey.

Rising inflation is the second-most common external business worry for CEOs, trailing only disruptions caused by Covid-19, after being just the 22nd most cited concern in Conference Board’s 2021 poll.

Supply chain bottlenecks were the most common explanation for the rising prices among CEOs, and 82% of respondents said their businesses were impacted by rising input costs, such as raw materials or wages.

The poll was conducted between October and November of last year among 917 CEOs in the U.S., Asia, Europe and South America.

Big Number9.7%. That’s how much the Producer Price Index, a measure tracking the prices manufacturers pay for goods, rose in 2021, the highest year-over-year increase since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began calculating the statistic in 2010. The PPI is considered a forward-looking indicator for consumer prices, meaning that the highest inflation U.S. consumers have faced in four decades could climb even further.

Tangent

The Conference Board survey found that the U.S. has faced unique labor issues during the pandemic. Labor shortages were considered the top external threat to business by U.S. respondents as a record number of Americans quit their jobs, but were not higher than third on the list of CEOs from other countries.

A primarily remote workforce is also a mostly American phenomenon: More than half of American CEOs said that they expect 40% or more of their workforce to work remotely after the pandemic, compared with just 31% of CEOs from Europe and 17% of CEOs from Japan.

Further Reading

Inflation Surge Is on Many Executives’ List of 2022 Worries (Wall Street Journal)

Inflation Spiked Another 7% In December—Hitting New 39-Year High As Fed’s Price Concerns Rattle Markets (Forbes)

Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip.

I’m a New Jersey-based news desk reporter covering sports, business and more. I graduated this spring from Duke University, where I majored in Economics and served as sports editor for The Chronicle, Duke’s student newspaper.

Source: Will Inflation Last Into 2023? Global CEOs Say Yes, While Key Price Indicator Hits Record Level

The Critics:

The 48 professional forecasters surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics were asked when the so-called core inflation rate (which leaves out food and energy prices) might return to the 2% range that the Federal Reserve targets (and that was commonplace before the pandemic).1 Right now the rate—as measured by the year-over-year change in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Personal Consumption Expenditures price index—is 4.1%, the highest since 1991.23

Most respondents said it would take at least until the second half of 2023, including more than a third who forecast 2024 or later. Since the survey was conducted in mid-November—before the omicron variant of COVID-19 was identified—it doesn’t account for how that news might impact their outlook.

The Federal Reserve has determined that roughly 2% is a healthy middle ground for inflation, one that enables a strong economy without hurting people’s buying power too much. The longer inflation stays hotter than that, the more likely the Fed is to do things to put a lid on it,4 like raise the benchmark federal funds rate. That rate influences all kinds of other interest rates, impacting the cost of borrowing on credit cards, mortgages, and other loans.5

Inflation has been double that 2% sweet spot because of the pandemic’s disruptions to supplies and the labor market. It’s hard for businesses to manufacture and transport enough goods to satisfy consumers’ unusually voracious demand for stuff.

Personal income grew 0.5% in October compared with the month before, as wage increases more than made up for declines in unemployment benefits from the government following the expiration of pandemic-era relief programs, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Wednesday in its monthly report on income and spending.1

People were inclined to spend the extra pocket money, as inflation-adjusted spending accelerated for a third month, rising 0.7%. They also saved less of their disposable income—7.3%, compared with 8.2% in September—staying within pre-pandemic norms and a far cry from April 2020, when the saving rate hit 33.8%.23

All that extra money didn’t go as far as it might have, though. The report also showed core inflation (not including food and energy) rising to 4.1% from a year ago, compared with 3.7% in September, hitting its highest level since 1991. That was in line with what forecasters at Moody’s Analytics had expected, possibly signaling that elevated inflation isn’t going away anytime soon.

“Inflation is no doubt a headwind, but in October at least, it was not enough to stop consumers from spending,” economists at Wells Fargo Securities said in a commentary.

Workers Quit Jobs In Droves To Become Their Own Bosses

The pandemic has unleashed a historic burst in entrepreneurship and self-employment. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are striking out on their own as consultants, retailers and small-business owners.

The move helps explain the ongoing shake-up in the world of work, with more people looking for flexibility, anxious about covid exposure, upset about vaccine mandates or simply disenchanted with pre-pandemic office life. It is also aggravating labor shortages in some industries and adding pressure on companies to revamp their employment policies.

The number of unincorporated self-employed workers has risen by 500,000 since the start of the pandemic, Labor Department data show, to 9.44 million. That is the highest total since the financial-crisis year 2008, except for this summer. The total amounts to an increase of 6% in the self-employed, while the overall U.S. employment total remains nearly 3% lower than before the pandemic.

Entrepreneurs applied for federal tax-identification numbers to register 4.54 million new businesses from January through October this year, up 56% from the same period of 2019, Census Bureau data show. That was the largest number on records that date back to 2004. Two-thirds were for businesses that aren’t expected to hire employees.

This year, the share of U.S. workers who work for a company with at least 1,000 employees has fallen for the first time since 2004, Labor Department data show. Meanwhile, the percentage of U.S. workers who are self-employed has risen to the highest in 11 years. In October, they represented 5.9% of U.S. workers, versus 5.4% in February 2020.

The self-employment increase coincides with complaints by many U.S. companies of difficulties—in some cases extreme—in finding and retaining enough employees. In September, U.S. workers resigned from a record 4.4 million jobs, Labor Department data show.

Kimberly Friddle, 50 years old, quit her job as head of marketing for a regional mortgage company near Dallas in September 2020. Her daughters in the sixth and eighth grade were struggling with attending school virtually, and, months into the pandemic, both were showing signs of anxiety. Although her employer was understanding, she wanted flexibility to provide them help without juggling Zoom meetings and projects.

Ms. Friddle planned to stay home indefinitely with the support of her husband, a pharmaceutical-company executive. But when a friend contacted her the next month, she saw an opportunity.

The friend sold home décor items on Amazon.com from his home in Canada, and Covid-related border restrictions were making it difficult to process returns. When he explained what he needed—primarily, someone to examine returned items for damage and ship them back to Amazon—Ms. Friddle felt the work could be a good challenge and a chance for her older daughter, Samantha, to gain some work experience.

They began processing returns for him steadily. When other Amazon sellers he knew needed help with warehouse-related tasks that were also made harder by the pandemic, he referred them to Ms. Friddle.

Now she runs an Amazon logistics, warehousing and fulfillment business full time from the family’s home outside Houston and rented warehouse space nearby. Her older daughter works with her about 10 hours a week, and Ms. Friddle recently hired an assistant. She hopes to expand her services to Walmart vendors.

In July, the family’s monthly income returned to roughly what it was when she worked in marketing, Ms. Friddle said. Though the decision to leave that job was an emotional one, she said, a change after 27 years has given her new energy and confidence in addition to the flexibility.

“I didn’t have a plan when I left,” she said. “I wasn’t giving enough attention to the needs of my family. I wasn’t giving enough attention to the job that needed to be done. I felt like I was failing everywhere.”

Now, “I feel so successful and I wake up every day like, ‘I wonder what’s going to happen today.’ ”

Through the late 19th century, the majority of Americans worked for themselves, as farmers or artisans. With new technology such as electric lighting, manufacturing expanded, and many people left the field for the factory floor. They landed in an environment of strictly defined work hours and hierarchies—workers overseen by managers overseen by executives.

By the time Covid-19 arrived in the U.S., the advent of apps, websites and companies catering to entrepreneurs and freelancers was already giving employees options.

Then, the pandemic spurred some people to “pause and re-evaluate their priorities,” said Aaron De Smet, a McKinsey & Co. senior partner and consultant on labor trends. “When you have a big event where everybody takes stock, and trends are already in place, people working for an employer never thought of doing freelance but now when [they] think about it, why not?”

Marcus Grimm, a 50-year-old in Lancaster, Pa., worked at advertising agencies from the time he finished college. For years, he toyed with freelancing. “I had always considered it, but literally just never had the guts to make the move,” he said. “I was scared I would lose sleep every night worrying about my next dollar.”

Early in the pandemic, Mr. Grimm, a married father of two grown children, was laid off. He logged onto Upwork, a website that connects freelance workers from a wide range of industries with potential clients. He fielded several assignments doing ad campaigns for big companies, charging a low hourly rate.

Business flowed in. He has steadily raised his rate, to $150 an hour. Mr. Grimm said he now earns more than in his old job, which paid $130,000 a year.

His favorite part is not having to deal with corporate politics or any bureaucracy. He can go kayaking in the middle of the day.

“I’m the one who finds the client, I’m the one who does the work, and I’m the one who deals with any of the problems that come up,” he said.

One client offered to hire him full-time, but he declined, Mr. Grimm said. “I told them, ‘I’ve seen the light.’”

Etsy Inc., an online marketplace for individuals to buy and sell items, says it had 7.5 million active sellers as of Sept. 30—up 2.6 million from that time in 2019. Eight in 10 are women. Its surveys indicate more than 4 in 10 of the new sellers started their businesses for reasons related to the pandemic, including for some the need to stay home to care for family members.

On a recent investor call, Upwork Inc. Chief Executive Hayden Brown, citing a September 2020 survey, said: “A new type of career path has emerged, with half of the Gen Z [age 18 to 22] talent pool actually choosing to start their careers in freelance rather than full-time employment.”

Based on a summer 2021 survey, Upwork concluded that 20% of people working remotely during the pandemic were considering leaving their jobs for freelance work.

At LinkedIn, the number of members who indicate they are self-employed by listing services from a field called “Open to Business” has quadrupled since the pandemic began, to 2.2 million, the company said. Nearly half of the new entrepreneurs have a college degree and nearly 4 in 10 a postgraduate degree.

Enterprises founded by women have grown by 27% and male-founded ones by 17% since the pandemic started, according to a LinkedIn analysis of user profiles. Meanwhile, Labor Department data show that in the two years through July, the number of self-employed female workers actively at work has grown 4.3%, while the number of self-employed male workers is down 1%, according to a Pew Research analysis.

Limited child-care or commuting options have helped spur some of the moves.

Matt Parrish of Raleigh, N.C., worked for a company that built retaining walls since graduating from the University of Florida roughly a decade ago. An engineer who managed projects, Mr. Parrish, 31, grew tired of dealing with the bureaucracy, such as when he wanted to hire someone.

“I enjoyed the work I was doing, but I definitely felt like I was getting more and more pigeonholed because it was such a large company,” he said.

He also wanted a schedule allowing more time with his newborn daughter. His employer provided just two weeks of paid parental leave, he said.

Mr. Parrish resigned in August and went into business as a consultant to homeowners and commercial-building owners on building retaining walls for construction projects. Being able to work from home and care for his daughter throughout the day was a primary reason, he said.

Instagram, YouTube and TikTok have provided new avenues to raise cash for aspiring entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, Robinhood Markets Inc. and cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin have spurred a new generation of traders, some so successful they have quit their jobs to trade.

Josh Dorgan, who is 32, started trading cryptocurrencies in 2017 with a straightforward goal: to pay off the mortgage on a house he and his wife had bought in Omaha, Neb., as fast as possible.

Mr. Dorgan continued working as a pediatric nurse while trading litecoin, ether and XRP. His trading, plus advisory roles he took on with crypto companies, started taking more time, hard to balance with his job managing the dialysis unit at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha.

When he told his wife, also a nurse, he wanted to quit and focus just on investing, she insisted they talk to a financial adviser first. With a professional’s signoff, he quit the hospital job in August 2020. He said his trading profits the following week equaled his previous full-year salary.

He tries to confine his work—including advising digital-currency firms and creating content for his nearly 200,000 Twitter followers—to between 8:30 a.m. and noon, leaving time to spend with his 10-month-old son, golfing and visiting a lake house he and his wife bought recently.

“You don’t just get into the markets and make money out of thin air,” said Mr. Dorgan. Yet even in volatile trading conditions, he said, he feels far less pressure than when he was juggling investing with a full-time job: “When I’m at a red light, I don’t feel like I’m rushed to get home anymore.”

Share Your Thoughts

Are you tempted to quit your job and start your own business? Join the conversation below.

Part of the current shift to self-employment might prove temporary. The boom in self-employed day traders during the dot-com hoopla of the late 1990s deflated along with the stock bubble.

A sharp rise in savings—boosted by a federal supplement to unemployment benefits, most recently $300 a week, that was paid for as long as 18 months of the pandemic—provides some individuals a financial cushion to pursue self-employment. As they run down those savings, some might again want a regular paycheck, economists say.

In addition, if labor shortages ease, freelancers could face stiffer competition from companies in landing clients. Finally, if the pandemic recedes, so might one piece of the impetus to leave regular work in favor of self-employment. Five percent of unvaccinated adults say they left a job because of a vaccine requirement they opposed, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey in October.

Robert Spencer, 55, repaired bridges for Washington state’s government for nearly a decade as a welder and fabricator. Mr. Spencer, who had a bout of Covid-19 early in the pandemic, left the job in October because he wasn’t willing to comply with a vaccine mandate for state employees.

As his end-date approached, Mr. Spencer, who had worked for himself before joining the state, began buying supplies to run his own fencing business and lining up residential projects.

His wife now handles billing and accounts payable and receivable. He says the two will need to make financial adjustments in anticipation of a winter slowdown in home improvement.

If the state should change its rules and let everybody come back, “then obviously I would, because of the benefits,” Mr. Spencer said. “But until then—I’m not counting on it—I plan on doing what I’m doing now. I enjoy it.”

By: Josh Mitchell & Kathryn Dill

Source: Workers Quit Jobs in Droves to Become Their Own Bosses – WSJ

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Here’s How To Implement a Skills First Approach To Workforce Development

The American workforce is on the cusp of massive disruption, with 40 percent of employees actively looking to change jobs in what economists are calling “The Great Resignation.” This presents business leaders with two unique dilemmas: first, how to manage churn within their own organizations; and second, how to effectively hire new talent, while developing their existing workforce.

The traditional methods of matching people to work are not up to the task. Many hiring practices are outdated and inefficient, with layers of bureaucracy, lots of administration, and old assumptions about who is qualified to take on what challenges. At the same time, legacy workforce development efforts are not equipped to meet the new level of need. As a result, businesses are missing out on potential talent, and people are missing out on jobs or experiences that would make a powerful difference in their lives.

By the end of 2020, 80 percent of U.S. employers had difficulty filling openings because of current skills gaps. The World Economic Forum estimates that 42 percent of jobs will require different skills in the next three years, and over 1 billion workers will need reskilling by 2030. Replacing talent – or preventing its loss – is the number one challenge many organizations are facing in the near term. Underlying that challenge is a bigger problem: the lack of an adaptable, engaged workforce with the skills needed for a changing world. This presents a serious risk to the whole population in a rapidly changing, complex world.

For both businesses and workers, agility – the ability to adapt and respond quickly to whatever comes next – is essential. Skills-first strategy is a promising, emerging trend aimed at increasing agility. A skills-first approach requires rethinking the premise of talent and turning the traditional talent model on its head. Demonstrated skills are valued over job histories and degrees. Rich, varied career journeys are prioritized over unilateral, pre-defined paths. And rewards and recognition are influenced by skills and contributions, not just job level, tenure or location.

There is no quick and easy way to make the move to a skills-first strategy. But, once you take a skills-first perspective, the implications are far reaching, touching everything from recruiting and development to learning and rewards. As the Chief Learning Officer at Workday, I’m finding myself “unlearning” many of my assumptions. But I’m also inspired by this new approach, which opens up new avenues for solving today’s business challenges.

Whether you’re a company leader or in an organizational talent role, here’s how you can get started with a skills-first talent strategy:

  • Establish a unified skills language

Most organizations use confused and inconsistent terminology around skills. This makes it difficult for employers to identify which workers have the skills needed to fill open roles, and workers struggle to understand which skills they should develop to advance their careers.We suggest simplifying and streamlining so that everyone is on the same page. For example, at Workday, we are moving to a three-part shared language around skills: Core Skills, Job Skills, and Unique Skills. In other words: What is needed to be successful at this company? What is needed to do this job? What else does an employee (or potential employee, contractor, or freelancer) have to offer?

  • Consider your company culture

What aspects or attributes of your company culture support the shift to skills first? What might get in the way? What is required to operate with a skills-first strategy across the enterprise? You will need to build on structures and behaviors that foster connections across silos, candid communication and conversation, and psychological safety. These will help you to empower workers as you determine which skills are needed to accomplish business strategy and goals, identify who has those skills, and fill in gaps by moving, developing, or bringing in new people.

  • Leverage innovative technology

With products that are seamlessly connected, technology can drive key business outcomes: getting work done, reskilling and upskilling, driving performance, and creating opportunities for career growth. For example, Workday can match an employee’s skills to the skills required for an internal job or gig available in Workday Talent Marketplace. We can also make personalized skill learning recommendations in Career Hub, a centralized space where employees can use tools and resources to develop in their careers.

Skills are the fundamental currency of the changing world as we prepare for the future of work. A skills-first approach opens the door to exciting, dynamic careers for current and future employees, which further promotes ongoing learning and engagement – just what organizations need to ensure they attract and keep the right talent.

By Chris Ernst

Source: Here’s how to implement a skills-first approach to workforce development – CEO Magazine North America

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The Future Is Looking Up for Small Businesses But Hiring Struggles Continue

A shortage of workers remains a big concern for business owners, and there’s no clear evidence yet that the end of federal unemployment benefits is boosting the labor supply

A lot has changed since unemployment reached a record rate of 14.8 percent in April 2020. Job openings are at their highest number since 2000 — and businesses can’t seem to fill them fast enough.

After any number of pandemic-related setbacks, small businesses are once again optimistic about the near future. Nearly three-fourths expect to increase sales in the next six months — but hiring struggles are putting a damper on these prospects, according to a survey of 500 small-to-medium-size businesses conducted in August 2021 and released yesterday by PNC.

Labor availability is the most-cited concern, and of the those experiencing hiring difficulties, 58 percent point to enhanced federal unemployment benefits as the culprit. With expanded federal unemployment benefits having ended on Labor Day — reducing unemployment pay by $300 a week — businesses widely believed this cut-off would lead to a surge in job applicants.

But the expected surge hasn’t yet materialized. A study released in late August authored by economists Kyle Coombs of Columbia University, Arindrajit Dube of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and others, showed that in the 22 states that ended these federal employment benefits earlier in June, there was only a small rise in employment in subsequent months — 4.4 percent.

Small businesses are now addressing the labor shortage directly by improving pay and benefits. Of those businesses surveyed, more than four in 10 say they’ve increased compensation to help attract and retain talent, and 44 percent have started allowing more flexible work arrangements. Nearly half have also begun implementing improved health and safety measures.

These changes don’t come without a cost. More than half (54 percent) of business owners surveyed say they anticipate raising prices to compensate for increased labor costs and inflation. Once this cost is passed on to consumers, individuals who previously received federal unemployment benefits may, at last, feel increasing financial pressure to re-enter the job market.

By Rebecca Deczynski, Staff reporter, Inc.@rebecca_decz

Source: The Future Is Looking Up for Small Businesses — But Hiring Struggles Continue | Inc.com

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