Local businesses still struggling to find workers

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You can’t help but notice it. On every corner, in front of nearly every business, help wanted signs are still posted.

“We haven’t seen a difference at all in either of our businesses. In fact, it’s probably worse than it was earlier,” said Robin Bopp, owner of MacKenzie River.

“I don’t know if we should hire someone that’s going to stand at the street and hold a billboard. If that’s any more effective, that’s the only thing we haven’t tried,” said Sandra Keller, CFO of Jobbers Moving and Storage.

Job Service of North Dakota’s reports are showing a positive trend in unemployment rates, but many local businesses say they can’t find workers.

Bopp says it’s been an ongoing battle.

“Today we just did a change of hours at MacKenzie River. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to close for lunches. So we reduced the shifts because we just don’t have enough employees to do lunch and dinner every day,” said Bopp.

Job Service’s latest reports show that as of last month, there were more than 18,000 job openings in the state.

“For every company that posted a job with us, they might be hiring two, three, four, multiple positions for this same job description. They’re not going to post it three or four times. They’re going to post it once. In all likeliness, this number is low,” said Sarah Arntson, communications officer at Job Service ND.

Keller says people simply aren’t motivated.

“The federal subsidy ended in June. It was kind of a trade-off because now in July, there’s an advance child tax credit where families are getting $250-300 a month per child. So, this makes hiring people a little harder, because they’re not looking for work,” said Keller.

“There could be a variety of reasons that people aren’t entering the workforce. But we certainly didn’t expect to see an immediate jump in those numbers. We expect to see something more gradual,” said Arntson.

Business owners say they’re concerned these positions will soon be even harder to fill as their student-workers head back to class this fall.

Job Service ND says the healthcare, transportation and material moving, and office and administrative support are currently seeing the most vacancies.

And Cass, followed by Burleigh and Grand Forks Counties, have the highest job increases in the state.

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