American businesses can't find workers

U.S. economy adds 148,000 jobs in December
U.S. economy adds 148,000 jobs in December

American businesses big and small increasingly have the same problem: They can't find workers.

The job market is so hot that employers are struggling to handle the consequences.

A Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday found labor shortages all over the country. And more businesses said they had no choice but to pay more to attract and keep the workers they want, a sign that wage growth may finally be picking up.

But companies are also losing out on business. That's not an immediate problem for the economy, but it could hurt economic growth in the long term. The survey showed worker shortages increased significantly at the end of last year.

Here's a snapshot.

In New England ...

Restaurants can't find waiters, waitresses and cooks. One manufacturer was three months behind schedule as he struggled to hire workers for a new factory. Another industrial company with 100 employees had 20 job openings. Tech companies in Boston and elsewhere said it's getting harder to find software engineers.

On the southern East Coast ...

One trucking company said it's having so much trouble finding drivers that many of its vehicles were sitting idle in the parking lot, forcing the company to raise wages.

Related: 4 ways to get a better job in 2018

In Washington, D.C. ...

Another construction company said a lack of skilled workers was the main cause of rising costs. Worker shortages force companies to raise wages, but they can also translate into other costs, like delayed or canceled projects.

In Louisville, Kentucky, and Little Rock, Arkansas ...

Construction companies can't find new employees, and manufacturing firms can't find either skilled or unskilled workers.

In Missouri ...

Employers in the healthcare, hospitality and retail industries were hard-pressed to find qualified and available workers. Around St. Louis, building companies have limited ability to put up new homes as they struggle to find workers.

Related: 95 million are still out of the workforce, and it's still a misleading number

On the West Coast ...

Widespread reports of labor shortages forced bosses to hike wages. From farms to factories, employers said they couldn't find enough people, or enough skilled people. West Coast banks also reported prolonged job vacancies and searches for qualified candidates.

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