The Current Kalamazoo Worker Shortage Is Temporary Or A Crisis?
I got an email today from a local organization that's looking for volunteers for a major public event coming up in a week to two. And it got to me thinking, are we fully grasping what is going on in our society and economy?
Have we "priced" ourselves out of our previous life? I, like so many people, complain about, for example, the lack of festivals. But festival these days require either temporary workers or volunteers. Well, if you can't get enough volunteers, then you have to hire temps of some sort. But adding to the problem is that temp agencies can't get enough good people. And if you're hiring temps, you're raising your cost of doing business. Then the question becomes, how much are people will to pay? I thought festivals, as one example, were already pretty pricey.
Just about every retail store, big and small is looking to hire. And they can't get anyone to apply, or work. So they're cutting back hours or products and services, as the case may be. In Michigan and Ohio, did you see where Cedar Point and Michigan's Adventure are going to be closing two days a week? Again, they couldn't get enough workers.
Now, some people feel that as soon as you take away making unemployment benefits more lucrative than staying at home, that will cure the problem. I'm not so sure, my friend. Yes, the pandemic was a reason for some (at times at the height of the crisis, many) to choose unemployment over searching for work, but here's where we may have out thought ourselves. How do we get folks to go back to something like ten dollars an hour? Yes, some places have raised their starting wages, but where's that going to come from? Higher prices? You can see a vicious circle starting here. At the same, you and I probably both know plenty of people who are overqualified or completely qualified, but employers are lowballing them on salary. How many local employers have effectively fired "older" employees because they're too expensive? And now, they're complaining about not being able to find qualified candidates. I don't know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. I just know I think we're...(insert your favorite euphemism here.)