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Now Hiring: Businesses continue to struggle with filling jobs as holidays near

From restaurants to mom-and-pop shops, the labor shortage is felt.
Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 7:59 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Business owners continue to struggle to fill positions. And while there are plenty of jobs, there are not many employees willing to work them.

Susan Bonano, owner of Sue’s Jewelers, said work is picking up at her business and it’s starting to put a strain on her current employees.

“We need more help to get all the work done that’s coming in here you know and everybody wants everything the next day or within a week and it’s difficult to do because I have a jeweler in the back here but he can only do so much,” she said.

With four employees and three outside jewelers helping with repairs and custom orders, Bonano said she’s in search of more help.

“Where are the people that’s supposed to be working? They have all these jobs available and no one is working,” she said.

Finding the help is challenging, she said. But it turns out there’s a reason for it.

Associate Professor of Economics at Tulane University Patrick Button said while the country has seen sustained economic growth, it’s not quite as good as expected.

“One reason why we’re not seeing jobs being filled as quickly is because employers have been a little slow to adapt to this new sort of framework where we need to have jobs that are more flexible,” said Button.

It’s something many employees have learned to value over the last two years based on pandemic-related challenges like elder care responsibilities, child care responsibilities, general health concerns, and needing a more flexible work schedule.

“So a lot of people are searching for jobs but they’re being a little pickier search or some people have due to unforeseen circumstances or personal reasons had to withdraw from the labor market,” he said.

Button believes this labor shortage is a temporary one; something that will gradually resolve itself, but it will take a while.

Back at Sue’s Jewelry, with the holidays fast approaching, she’s worried about the future.

“There are a lot of unknowns out there but it’s just getting people to work is tough,” said Bonano.

Button said another factor for the labor shortage-- at least locally-- could be from Hurricane Ida’s impact on the region. Many people could still be displaced, permanently moved away, or lost their jobs.

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