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The share of US small-business owners who plan to add jobs fell in March for a fourth straight month, pointing to softer demand for labor.

Some 11% of firms said they intend to add workers in the next three months on net, down a percentage point from February and the smallest share since May 2020, according to data out Thursday from the National Federation of Independent Business.

A net 38% of firms said they raised compensation during the month, up from 35% in February. Compensation plans also picked up slightly.

While the share of employers reporting that openings were hard to fill held at the lowest level since the start of 2021, “the small-business labor market remains tight, and owners continue to compete to retain and recruit employees,” Bill Dunkelberg, the NFIB’s chief economist, said in a statement.

The government’s monthly jobs report on Friday is forecast to show employers boosted payrolls 215,000 in March after a 275,000 increase a month earlier.

Written by: @Bloomberg

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