90% of US companies have job vacancies, skilled labor shortages.

90% of US companies have job vacancies, skilled labor shortages.

Some 90% of American companies have job openings, but shortages of skilled labor are the worst in a decade.

Those are key findings of a quarterly survey of economists who work for businesses such as banks, retailers, utilities, manufacturers and the housing industry.

Companies are taking many steps to fix this gap.

A little over one-third say they have increased pay, according to the National Association of Business Economists. That helps explain why wages, though rising, aren’t increasing as fast as they usually do when the labor market is so tight.

Another third say they have trained current employees so they could be promoted into new jobs.

And a quarter of firms have invested in labor-saving processes such as automation.

Even the ultratight labor market, though, is unlikely to keep companies from hiring at a brisk clip, since demand for their products and services keeps rising. The NABE’s employment gauge rose to a three-year high despite a 4.1% unemployment rate that is the lowest in 17 years.