A shortage of skilled labor is constraining the growth of private business, according to a report released by Grant Thornton.

The labor shortage is making less of an impact on business growth than it did last year, though, according to the survey. While the availability of a skilled workforce is the largest U.S. constraint overall, only 26 percent of U.S. private businesses rank it as a major issue this year, a decrease from 34 percent for the same category in 2007 and notably less than the current global average of 37 percent.

Smaller percentages of U.S. private businesses report constraints in the other categories listed in the survey. Nineteen percent cite reduced demand as a constraint on business growth, while 16 percent cite the cost of finance, a shortage of working capital, and regulations and red tape.

Eleven percent cited a shortage of long-term finance. The U.S. ratings are also lower when compared to overall North American, European and global averages.

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