Labor shortage crisis cripples some SWFL businesses
LEE COUNTY, Fla. – A labor shortage crisis is crippling some businesses in Southwest Florida. Simply put, there are more jobs than workers.
Some people are blaming that on the $1,200 a month in federal unemployment that is set to end. The job placement firm Career Source warns that ending unemployment funds won’t solve the labor shortage.
Employment experts reveal the problem is much more complex.
The worker shortage crisis is affecting more than just businesses. It’s affecting employees too.
Bubba’s Roadhouse and Saloon employees like many in the industry are working six and seven days a week simply because there aren’t enough people to fill all of the open positions.
“I’ve got line employees making 20 hours of overtime a week right now, and I need to get them to rest,” said Jay Johnson, who owns the restaurant along Pine Island Road.
Johnson said he is unable to meet the demand with few workers.
“It’s a problem I’ve never been in before where we’re not able to find help to take care of the business levels that we have,” Johnson revealed.
His help wanted sign along the busy highway, however, is competing with hundreds around the area.
“Normally if we put out a help wanted sign, put an ad out on Facebook or Snag-a-job or Linkedin we’d get 10-15 applications,” Johnson said. “Right now I’m lucky if I get one.”
He said even then, things don’t work out since he’s often never heard from the worker again since they don’t show up. He and others blame the $1,200 a month many people are still receiving in federal unemployment.
The agency who helps fill jobs for businesses like his agrees.
In fact Jim Wall with Career Source of SWFL predicts the labor shortage is going to be around for possibly the next four or five years based on the rate of growth.
Among the reasons is the 70 million baby boomers who are retiring.
“Our economy is so hot in SWFL that businesses are expanding which is causing the labor shortage,” Wall said.
He also said that Generation X and Millennials can’t find daycare to go back to work and he said many of them are choosing gig jobs as an alternative.
“Businesses will continue to struggle to fill key positions. Not just in leisure and hospitality,” Wall predicted.
Retail, construction, and medical industries are all fighting for workers.
Some businesses are reporting they have to shut down for a day just to give their employees some time off. That’s something Bubbas hopes they won’t have to resort to.
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