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Unemployment rates are down but businesses are still hurting for employees

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 6:18 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -Last week, the job report said nearly 200,000 jobs were added just in the month of September, but yet one local business is forced to cut its hours due to the lack of help.

It’s no secret the economy is going through some usually changes, short staff, businesses closing early, and some just can’t keep up with the demand.

KU Professor of Economics, Donna Ginther says there are reasons why the labor force is hurting.

”First of all, over two million people have retired since the start of covid, there were a lot of baby boomers that were hanging on for strong retirement portfolios and then we had covid and the stock market went crazy and they look at their portfolios are decided to leave all at once,” she said.

The other reason is families are wanting to prioritize their families and themselves.

“A lot of mothers have left the labor force, in Kansas over 4% of mothers and parents quit working because they can’t find adequate child care,”.

Even with a high demand for available jobs around the country, companies still find themselves at half-staff.

“Some people are making the decision that some of these jobs, especially in the low wage spectrum aren’t worth dying for, so they are standing on the sidelines and my guess to get them back in the labor force is to incentivize them by paying them more and you know, getting Covid under control,” said Ginther.

But even with a pay increase, Pizagel’s, a local pizzeria and bakery in Topeka is still hurting for employees.

“All we are doing is trying to fight for other peoples helpers and with all the industries and distribution centers that are opening up, absorbing up with that income, we can’t compete, we cant pay $19 an hour we aren’t going to pay $15-$16 an hour, it doesn’t make sense for us,” said owner, Jim Burgardt.

As quickly as they are hiring, they are also losing employees.

”Every week we have two to three people leaving us, and I’m hiring two to three people and they are short term and the way the economy is going, it’s tremendous and great, but what good is that to us if we cant support our customers and put out the way we want to put out,” he said.

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