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Labor shortage continues, impacts business, government

Now hiring
Posted at 3:00 AM, Mar 31, 2022

BOISE, Idaho — For months the Treasure Valley has been full of now hiring signs and job postings, restaurants have even been forced to close some days because of a lack of staff.

In January, Idaho News 6 this is impacting our state government agencies too. Months later, the labor shortage remains and local governments are facing related challenges too. The Idaho Department of Labor said there are two job openings for every one unemployed person right now.

While there are things that can help to alleviate the situation, they aren't expecting it to go away anytime soon.

"We're one of the ten states with the lowest unemployment rate," Craig Shaul with the Idaho Department of Labor said. "We actually are leading the nation in terms of recovery and actually gaining jobs post-pandemic recovery."

Shaul said Idaho has this combination of low unemployment and increasing jobs because of demographics and population growth.

"People are moving here to retire but we're also getting the younger working-age population to fuel that job growth as well," he said.

As people move to the state, demand for goods and services goes up, but because of a mix of retirees and the working-age population, there aren't enough people to fill the job openings, especially when the pandemic accelerated retirements. This is impacting everyone from restaurants and retail stores, to local and state government.

Boise City Council is in the process of setting its budget for the next fiscal year and is discussing compensation adjustments and other changes to help with employee recruitment and retention.

The city officials say its vacancy rate is currently 10%, compared to a vacancy rate of 3-5% in previous years. Boise Mayor Lauren McLean says other local cities are facing similar staffing challenges