ST. LOUIS – Nearly half of small businesses in the St. Louis metropolitan area and the state of Missouri have had trouble recently trying to hire new employees, according to a new study from HelpAdvisor.com.

The HelpAdvisor research team released findings from April 2022 in its recent “Help Wanted” study, which highlights various challenges that small businesses have in several states and cities face when it comes to hiring new employees.

More than 44% of small businesses surveyed in Missouri and St. Louis had trouble adding to their workforce, the largest rates reported for states and metropolitan areas included in the study. Missouri (at 44.9%) is nearly 15% higher than the national average, while St. Louis (at 46%) is 16% higher than the national average.

The study says Rust Belt states, like Missouri, have faced some of the greatest challenges in hiring for small business roles as recently. Four of the top five metropolitan areas mentioned in the study for hiring troubles among small businesses, including St. Louis, are based in the Midwest.

The HelpAdvisor research team found that more than 60% of small businesses in the accommodations and food services industry noticed hiring challenges. The study hints that 44% of small businesses nationally don’t expect to return to a normal level of operation within six months, if at all.

Data cited from the study came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Business Pulse Survey, which was last updated April 21.