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Nearly 34% of New Jersey businesses reported have difficulty hiring employees last month, more than employers in neighboring states and the national average, according to the latest U.S Census Bureau Pulse Survey data collected Jan. 10–16.

Nationwide, 30.1% of businesses surveyed said that it was difficult to fill open positions. In New Jersey, that percentage was 33.9%.  Only Wisconsin (38.3%), Michigan (37.6%), New Hampshire (35.9%) Virginia (34.6%) and Arizona (34.5%) had a higher percentage of employers reporting hiring challenges.

New Jersey’s labor shortage was also worse than in neighboring states. The percentage of businesses reporting hiring challenges was 33.5% in Pennsylvania, 29.2% in Maryland, 23.8% in New York; 27.1% in Connecticut; and 21.2% in Delaware during the Jan. 10–16 period when the survey was taken.

Nationwide, the hiring crisis was felt most acutely in the accommodations and food sector, where 55.6% of employers reported difficulties finding workers. Employers in healthcare and social assistance (39.6%), manufacturing (37.2%) and transportation and warehousing (35.1%) also reported higher than average hiring difficulties.

The Pulse Survey data released Friday also asked businesses about their revenues during the same period.  In New Jersey, 4.7% of businesses surveyed said revenues had increased, compared to 5.3% of businesses nationwide. Another 38.5% of New Jersey businesses said their revenues had decreased, compared to 34.3% nationally. And 56.8% of New Jersey businesses said there was no change.