stock-photo-person-search-concept-flat-d-1390002-203254-edited.pngRecruiting and hiring new employees is very difficult for nearly a quarter of U.S. businesses, according to a new survey. Another 46 percent feel the recruitment process is somewhat difficult.

The total amount of companies — 70 percent — that reported some level of difficulty finding and bringing job applicants on board was the highest percentage since the last quarter of 2016.

Less than 30 percent found recruiting and hiring easy.

Almost a third of respondents cited a lack of available job applicants as the top reason they were unable to fill open positions. Thirty percent said they found hiring new employees difficult because of a lack of job applicants who had experience.

For more on the recruitment process challenges companies are facing, view this additional information from Express Employment Professionals, which sponsored the survey.