Finding new employees remains the top challenge for many businesses in Owensboro and throughout the state. Why is it so hard to find people to fill these openings in Kentucky? A recent study from the financial website WalletHub sheds some light on the issue.

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Businesses all over the Commonwealth have had to change their business strategies based on hiring issues. Many stores are cutting their hours because of the labor shortage. I went to two clothing stores earlier this week, and the dressing rooms were closed because of being short-staffed. If you drive around town you see "Now Hiring" signs all over. It may be why your favorite restaurant closed early. It could be the reason your favorite shop closed permanently.

The struggle to find employees is real and affects us all in one way or another. I have friends that own and manage businesses, and I hear about their hiring issues firsthand. I have my own opinion on why I think there's such a big labor shortage. I'm sure you do too. It wasn't a surprise that Kentucky ranked 2nd worst in filling jobs. If you're looking for a job or want to make a job change, there are plenty to choose from.

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Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash
Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash
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WALLETHUB STUDY

In a recent study from the personal-finance website WalletHub.com, while New York and the District of Columbia have the least job openings, Kentucky sits at the bottom in most categories.

WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on the rate of job openings for both the latest month and the last 12 months.

 KENTUCKY HIRING STRUGGLE STATS

• Job openings rate during the latest month: 8.70%

• Job openings rate in the past 12 months: 7.88%

• Overall rank: 2nd biggest hiring struggle in the country

Sources: Data used to create this ranking were obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash
Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash
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Job losses were felt by many businesses during the pandemic, and employees haven't come back to the workforce. There are amazing manufacturing jobs available right now, and many are hiring at a higher pay rate than ever. The job market is certainly interesting right now, and there's much "work" to be done, especially in Kentucky. How does it look in your state?

STATE BY STATE RANKING

Source: WalletHub

WALLETHUB EXPERT COMMENTARY

Miren Ivankovic, Adjunct Professor at Clemson University shares why he thinks employers are having difficulties in filling employment positions.

There are several reasons for this problem. One reason is due to what is called structural unemployment. Simply put, there is a mismatch in the supply of labor and demand for labor based on a set of skills. For example, South Caroline needs automakers and plane makers, but if the available pool of labor does not have these skills, there is a shortage of labor. Secondly, the Covid virus caused the closure of some K-12 schools, and children were obtaining education from home via their computers, which forced some parents to stay home and leave their job. Thirdly, among some individuals, benefits received via stimulus checks increased their incomes and savings and allowed them to pause their demand to work. Finally, some individuals realized that the labor market is ‘hot,’ and they can get a better deal somewhere else. This is called frictional unemployment since they resign and then shop for a better job.”

What are your thoughts about why hiring workers to fill open positions is so tough?

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