The latest survey from Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce highlights the workforce shortage plaguing employers, with 86 percent of respondents saying they’re struggling to hire workers.

Of that number, 35 percent said the main cause is that unemployment benefits are too generous. Another 30 percent said a lack of qualified applicants is the main issue, while 26 percent blamed the state’s labor shortage more broadly.

The survey tapped 266 Wisconsin employers that make up a representative sample of WMC’s membership, according to a release.

When asked about the $300 weekly federal unemployment enhancement currently available through September, 85 percent of respondents said they support ending the pandemic-related benefit expansion; 14 percent said they oppose doing so. Another 1 percent said they’re unsure.

“Hundreds of Wisconsin businesses just barely survived months of government-mandated lockdowns, restrictions and limited capacity,” said WMC President and CEO Kurt Bauer in a statement. “Now, many of those same businesses face another serious government-imposed burden in the form of overly generous unemployment benefits that have created a full-blown workforce emergency.”

State lawmakers voted earlier this month to end the supplemental benefits, but Gov. Tony Evers has hinted he will veto it.

Seventy-two percent of survey respondents said the labor shortage or a lack of qualified applicants is the top policy issue the state is currently facing. The next-highest response, high taxes, was selected by 7 percent of respondents. Other top policy issues identified in the survey include excessive regulation, with 7 percent and health care costs, with 5 percent.

Still, WMC notes Wisconsin companies are attempting to add employees in the coming months. Seventy-nine percent said they’re planning to increase the number of workers they employ over the next six months and are raising wages to support that goal.

The survey also shows around 70 percent of respondents plan to raise wages by at least 3 percent this year, and more than 25 percent plan to raise wages by more than 4 percent.

See the full survey results here: