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Tiny Companies with a Big Problem


Tuesday morning the Wall Street Journal ran a front page article reporting that small firms are hiring employees at the lowest rate in eight years, and it’s not because they aren’t hiring. “Tiny” companies (defined as twenty employees or less) are struggling to attract and retain workers in the tightest job market in over fifty years. The tight job market is also putting pressure on wages because small firms experience a double whammy as bigger firms can pay more putting even greater pressure on what tiny companies can afford. 17% of private sector workers, about 21 million, work at companies with twenty or fewer employees.

Here is the punch line. A 2017 emerging trends report issued by the ULI and PWC indicated that in 2015 there were 46,843 firms in the commercial property building industry, representing 86% of the firms in the real estate industry, which had twenty or fewer employees. Since the report was issued the situation has become even more dire because the economy continues to expand, and construction is outpacing the labor to support it.


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