There were 10.1 million job openings nationwide at the end of June, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As several industries feel the impact of this record shortage, North Texas isn’t exempt.
Victor Garcia is the owner of Sol Dias Ice Cream in Haltom City. As a small business owner, he said he's feeling the squeeze of the record nationwide labor shortage. There’s stiff competition to secure employees.
“Since the pandemic started, I feel like that’s when things started. And it’s been challenging,” Garcia said. “Just last week we had five interviews scheduled and three of them called ahead and said, ‘I got a job at McDonald's, Taco Bell, Taco Cabana.’"
Chris Dharod works with dozens of restaurants across North Texas as President of SSCP Management, Inc. He said employers should brace themselves for the long haul.
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“I think we’ve got at least another six months of tough staffing ahead of us, unfortunately, and that could end up lasting us another 12-18,” Dharod said.
The problem is even touching school systems. Several North Texas districts said they’ve had a hard time filling positions for bus drivers. Plano ISD released a statement that said its transportation department increased pay for bus drivers to $21 an hour. While they search for qualified drivers, bus routes are being combined to try and alleviate the problem.
There are several reasons for the labor void, including the millions across the who’ve chosen to retire, switch careers or simply quit. Garcia is trying to make do and hopes for a turn.
“When you need five or 10 people and you only have two or three, how do we make things work?” he said.
Extended federal unemployment benefits ended last week so employers suspect there's hope for relief if those folks enter the workforce soon. But according to CNBC, more must be done to stay competitive in the labor market beyond just increasing pay.