Why small businesses, including the furniture sector, are cutting back on hiring

BOSTON — The labor shortage may not be a problem for some small businesses, including furniture retailers, who are putting the brakes on hiring, according to a blog from Alignable citing its 2022 Holiday Hiring Poll.

The survey of more than 4,400 small business owners across multiple categories ranging from transportation, restaurants and retail to manufacturing, automotive and finance, found just 7% planned to employ holiday workers, down from 36% last season. The poll was taken between Sept. 16 and Oct. 12.

Retail was listed in the top three categories still seeking help, with 15% of small businesses saying they would be hiring temporary workers in the fourth quarter. Only transportation (25%) and restaurants (17%) were seeking more temp help.

Along with holiday hiring cutbacks, the poll also found 67% of small operations were putting a hiring freeze on permanent positions and, at 71%, furniture-related small businesses led the list. Additionally, Alignable’s blog says, none of those polled from the furniture sector were hiring part-time holiday help and 14% were laying off staff.

The report from the online small business network positioned the move by the furniture segment as a reaction to consumer cutbacks on non-essential purchases during a period of heightened inflation and fears of recession.

But furniture sellers aren’t alone, the report states, as 46% of all small retailers aren’t hiring, either seasonally or permanently, through the end of the year. The reasons cited include labor costs, difficulty recruiting, other rising expenses and recession concerns.

The conservative stance extends beyond industries to parts of the country as well. In 11 states, at least 50% of small businesses weren’t hiring, the poll found, and in six of those states — Massachusetts, California, Michigan, Arizona, New York and Florida — the percentage met or exceeded 60%.

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