5-12-2021 – Workers are in high demand

Posted on: May 12th, 2021 by admin


May 12, 2021



By Guy Lucas guylucas@newstopicnews.com

May 11, 2021


People who have been reluctant to return to the workforce, no matter the reason, may not realize how much opportunity they are missing now, a local economic development official said.


All kinds of businesses are desperately seeking workers, and that has shifted conditions in favor of workers in terms of pay, benefits and future prospects, said Deborah Murray, the executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission.


“One employer told us last week, … ‘I could double the size of my business if I could find more workers,’ ” she said.


An EDC survey of local employers found that many have increased starting wages and benefits, are offering earlier raises and promotions or other incentives, and allow more flexibility in workers’ schedules, she told the EDC’s board of directors on Tuesday. Employers are also more likely to try to improve workplace conditions, she said, citing one who added free Wi-Fi to employee break rooms.


“Without question, our employers have looked at their wages and are increasing them, not just thinking about it,” she said. “Employers are very serious about attracting the best talent they can, about growing and retaining the best employees.”


Employers nationwide in a variety of industries have reported difficulty finding employees even though the economy has still not regained all of the jobs lost during the pandemic-related shutdowns in early 2020.


Although some blame continued federal enhancement of unemployment benefits, saying it gives people as much or more money as a job would, surveys also have shown some workers have remained out because of a lack of child care or fear of COVID-19, among other reasons. Paul Krugman of the New York Times cited data last week showing that thousands of jobs paying more than $35 an hour are going unfilled, and unemployment benefits can’t come close to matching that.


Regardless of any individual’s reason for sitting out of the workforce, that person needs to consider the opportunities for advancement that could be lost by continuing to sit out until after the current high demand for employees has ebbed, Murray said.


Ric Smith, the manager of the NCWorks Caldwell Career Center, which helps connect the unemployed with employers, said he has had discussions along those lines with some who are out of work. The job market is hot now, but it may not look the same in six months or a year, he said.

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