NC struggles more than most states in hiring, survey finds

Dec. 16. During the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans lost their jobs and experienced financial difficulties due to unemployment. Now, lots of businesses are struggling to hire enough workers, which has sometimes led to delays in services and reduced business hours.

The labor force participation rate is still below pre-pandemic levels, and is at one of the lowest points in decades. Some businesses aren’t even able to keep the employees they already have – as Americans are quitting their jobs at record rates in what’s been dubbed the “Great Resignation.”

North Carolina ranked 16th of 51 in a WalletHub survey  of states where employers are struggling the most in hiring.

Alaska, Georgia and Montana topped the list, while Connecticut, District of Columbia and New York came in as the least struggling.

Ask the experts

Scott Behson

Scott Behson is a leading researcher and nationally recognized expert on the topics of work-family policy and workplace flexibility. He answered questions from WalletHub.

Why do employers have difficulties in filling employment positions?

We have been operating in a very tight labor market for a long time. Part of this is that so many retired or dropped out of the workforce during the height of the pandemic. The US has also seen a significant drop in legal immigration over the past several years. Demographic trends have also contributed. There are jobs to be had, but fewer people to fill them.

What will be the economic impact, if any, of this trend?

We have seen how wage growth has contributed to inflation. More people making more money can buy more stuff, and this increases demand and then prices (this is especially true with supply chain problems). Plus, for smaller businesses, the increase in labor costs often directly flows into the price for consumers. Larger companies have more capacity to absorb these increased labor costs without passing them on to customers but do not often do so.

Also, we have seen many businesses limit capacity or hours. Many stores, restaurants and retail outlets are operating on reduced schedules, opening later or closing early to reduce labor costs.

How can employers attract and retain employees?

The most important trend I see is that so many job seekers and employees have considered how they were treated by employers during the past few years and now will not settle for workplaces that do not offer them livable wages, flexibility and other aspects of support.

They are looking for what I call Whole-Person Workplaces, employers that support employees and consider their work-life challenges as well as their bottom lines. Employers with good reputations are not facing nearly the staffing crunch as those that are playing catch-up.


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