Whether you believe all this the past year was way too much Government or not enough action. Whatever your political beliefs are…whatever you think of the media….there is no denying we have a major issue right now with a massive shortage of labor. A crisis is now a legit word on this….and if you are in your basement and don’t believe me than just get out and talk to some businesses or look at the “true” statistics and numbers.
I recently was on a large 50+ local Zoom meeting with businesses and this nightmare is across the board in nearly every single line of business. The experiences were first hand and real. Multiple restaurants posted jobs for dishwashers/table bussers getting zero applicants at $16/hour. (more pay than ever offered) The hiring manager at a very large construction company had 12 positions offered with $25/hour pay and had a mere 61 total applicants. He said the fewest applicants they have had in a decade was 216 applicants for a round of jobs….a near 70% drop! After drug tests the total was at 11 and after background checks that was reduced to 3. YES…..you read that right… He never even got to the interview stage as only had THREE qualified applicants. The craziest?…EVERY Single business there stating they are turning down or delaying business do to lack of labor regardless of pay offering or incentives. Eight percent of the attendees stating they had to close/reduce operations due to lack of labor…..wild to hear first hand.
Here at the Bullseye we have seen it unfold as well. While we have no employees I have sub-letted work to multiple moving crews on large home pack outs for years. Those have all but disappeared or those operating prices have doubled/tripled to the point it makes it impossible (good for them!!)…got quoted $850/hour for three guys on packout in Canon City last week with a 2-3week lead time schedule as an example. Called two other places and both stated they are fully booked as don’t have enough crews working to take on more work at any price. Wow. For us as a dinky small business this has basically completely changed which liquidations we can and can’t do and/or how we address the situation. Hard for anyone to benefit paying $4000 to move out $5000 worth of stuff…LOL. Just where we are right now in America and…I get it.
How did we get here? First of all the The CDC/Government “exit strategy” was embarrassing and unreal (next blog post…haha) Basically changing and opening businesses overnight on a dime gave businesses no one time to “ramp up” or plan to open or fully operate. Combine this with many States in giveaway mode with unemployment benefits and the perfect storm happened to create a crisis. How can you really “blame” someone who can stay home and make more money than working? This mess isn’t the labor force fault at all. But one sitting on the sidelines must be cautioned that businesses are adapting and there may not be these jobs in a few months when the benefits finally expire.
While nearly 20 States have now rapidly changed unemployment guidelines…that is a very slippery slope as there are still many that need short term benefits to survive a change in life or work. The system is there for a reason but it seems to me all the “Covid Relief” has been FAR more than enough at this point. Colorado and several other states have taken the bribery approach by paying $1000+ to get workers to come back to work although it doesn’t appear to be working in the least by early numbers……so I guess the only fixing this could by good old Father Time.
Seems like we must get used to backordered items and slow service at many businesses for many months to come…but don’t blame nor punish those businesses….this is outta their control. BE NICE TO THOSE WORKING!! There is no quick solution to this big of a crisis. The high school summer labor market will help ease some of the demand for general labor in the short term. It will be interesting to watch all this Government created mega mess unravel and this problem of labor is at the top…..unfortunately we ALL pay the price. One thing is for certain…It is doubtful you will ever see this much “HELP WANTED” again. Pretty hard to defend this debacle.