Idaho Department of Labor projects job growth to continue, but staffing shortages probably will too

Posted at 3:58 AM, Jan 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-21 09:10:57-05

IDAHO — Staffing shortages have been top of mind for many, including government agencies presenting their budget requests to the Joint Appropriations Finance Committee (JFAC).

"I'm thrilled to report that almost with no exceptions, our public schools are open and they are operating. This is despite the urgent staffing shortages from substitute teachers, to bus drivers, to cafeteria staff," Sherri Ybara, the Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction said.

The Idaho Department of Corrections brought up staffing shortages during its presentation to JFAC as well.

"I can't not mention the significance of our staffing shortages and what that means not just for the people who work in our correctional facilities but also for the people who live there," Josh Tewalt, the Director of the Idaho Department of Corrections said.

From public schools to the Department of Corrections and other government agencies, employers are having a hard time filling job openings.

The Idaho Department of Labor said this is a national problem, but Idaho's population growth is also fueling job growth.

"I don't think population growth is necessarily keeping up with employment demand, however, it is what has basically been fueling Idaho's employment growth to this extent," Craig Shaul, a Research Analyst Supervisor for the Idaho Department of Labor said.

As the population grows, so does the demand for services, creating more jobs in the state and this job growth is only expected to continue throughout 2022.

The Department of Labor is projecting more than 34,000 jobs to be added this year, but whether employers will be able to fill those jobs is uncertain.

"I would say that should the worker shortage intensity diminish, we're still going to be looking at--just because of demographics and what's driving this is mainly retirees--we're going to be looking at a tight labor force regardless of if this loses intensity," Shaul said.

Shaul said the Baby Boomer generation is retiring and the pandemic accelerated this

He also said since these are just projections, things could change, so right now when these staffing shortages may end is unclear.