LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) – Kentucky’s unemployment rate is falling, but the state is still not back to pre-pandemic levels.
However, some companies are working overtime to fill available positions.
Brian Behr owns Bear & The Butcher and Postmaster’s Pub. He said his two restaurants were hiring, and had been for months.
“It was difficult to get a full complement,” Behr said. “I heard everyone has problems, but I didn’t think it would be that difficult.
Behr said he expected some employees not to return after the pandemic shutdowns and COVID-19 restrictions. However, with the opening of the state and the rise of business, the number of candidates was not in proportion to what he expected.
“In the past, I’ve had a lot of apps to browse and choose from,” he said. “The people I have right now are working 45 to 50 hours a week, and that’s enough for them. So I need to find more people. “
Behr has said he would like to increase the hours of operation for his new restaurant, Postmaster’s Pub, but that won’t be possible until he can hire more people.
Behr companies aren’t the only ones putting up “Now Hiring” signs around Lexington.
Job promotions can be found in all types of businesses, including gas stations, stores, grocery stores, and restaurants.
Dr Michael Clark, director of the UK Center for Business and Economic Research, explained that the economic trend is being felt across the country for several reasons.
According to Clark, the problem is not a shortage of available labor, but rather a change in working conditions and standards.
Clark cited health concerns as one of the reasons companies can struggle to hire.
“Even though vaccination rates have increased and the spread of COVID-19 has slowed significantly, there may still be health issues among some potential workers,” Clark said.
Problems finding child care services are another reason, according to Clark.
“If they don’t have good childcare options, they may be less likely to look for work,” Clark said.
Finally, many are paid more in unemployment benefits than they would earn working in person, which Clark says may cause them to avoid looking for work.
“When employers are having trouble attracting workers, they will have to look at the compensation programs they offer,” Clark said.
And many do just that.
Some employers offer a starting salary several dollars above the minimum wage, but the challenge of getting people to apply is still there.
“I think over the next few months we’ll continue to see a gradual improvement, this gradual trend to where we were before the pandemic, but it may take a while to get there,” Clark said. .