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How labor shortage is impacting Idaho businesses

Downtown Boise
Posted at 2:58 AM, Apr 01, 2022

BOISE, Idaho — As fast as Idaho's population is growing, jobs are growing even faster and the Boise Metro Chamber says businesses are doing everything they can think of to fill job openings.

The Chamber says the hospitality industry is among the most affected, but it's rebounding after the pandemic.

"Hotel occupancy is back up to pre-pandemic levels now and we're going to see about 80% of convention activity by the end of this year, compared to pre-pandemic levels," Mike Freeman with the Boise Metro Chamber said.

So this industry and others are trying everything to recruit and retain employees, no one solution will work for every business or every industry, but businesses are trying things like increasing pay and offering remote or hybrid work options.

Increased pay does have some impact on the consumer, though.

"Those higher wage costs are being passed onto consumers, so you see the prices for the goods being offered--services are also going up," Craig Shaul, an economist with the Idaho Department of Labor said.

Despite the shortage of workers and inflation, demand for goods and services is still increasing in Idaho.

"The job growth we're seeing is being fueled by that population growth," Shaul said.

Freeman explains, job growth is outpacing population growth.

"More jobs are coming in than people even though we have a population explosion right now," he said.

And with the latest unemployment rate in Idaho at 2.8%, there are not many candidates for open positions.

The Boise Metro Chamber will discuss the issue at an upcoming event in Sun Valley.

"The top minds in business, local elected officials and others from around the community are going to be coming together to discuss solutions to problems just like this," Freeman said.

You can find more information about the event by clicking here.