The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index remained basically unchanged in December, drifting down 0.4 points to 104.4, according to the report released this week.

“Our employers that I’ve talked to and what we’ve seen in our index is, they’re struggling to find qualified workers,” said Dan Murray with NFIB-Kansas. “Our members are telling us, that’s their top, or one of their biggest challenges.”

The source of the problem is simple supply and demand.

“It’s a result of our very strong economy right now,” said Murray. “The fact that we have record low unemployment means that there are fewer employees, or qualified employees out there. With virtually full employment, our small business owners are having a hard time finding those qualified employees.”

Outmigration is reducing the supply of qualified workers in the state.

“We have to churn out the kinds of employees from our educational system that will respond to the small business economy, that seek to work with a small business owner,” said Murray. “We need population growth in Kansas, in particular. We need to attract more folks to settle in Kansas that can fill the jobs that we need.”

Murray said the moving trucks are going to more business-friendly states and it’s important to make Kansas a more business-friendly state to help keep people here and to draw new ones.