Employers having trouble filling open positions

More than three thousand job openings in the Joplin Metro.
Now Hiring Sign

JOPLIN, Mo. – Almost anywhere you drive in Joplin, you’ll more than likely see a “now hiring” sign.

“It’s been a struggle right now finding candidates,” says Carla Hess with Adecco.

Hess explains that Adecco is currently trying to fill more than a hundred open positions within the companies they work with, and most of positions pay between $13 to $17 an hour. But, she’s never seen their office as slow as it is right now.

“The thing that everyone’s kind of fearful about is if a line goes down or a production site goes down, or if they can’t run a certain product because they don’t have a certain amount of people,” explains Hess.

Austen Brown at Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom says they don’t have problems receiving applications from candidates. But, only a small number of people actually show up for interviews — and a small percentage of them show up on their first day after being hired. So the restaurant has been short staffed for more than six months.

“It creates an overall horrible experience for everyone involved. Whether it be a server struggling to get to the tables, or the cooks struggling to get food out of the kitchen. At the end of the day, the guests kind of experience the brunt of that,” explains Brown, Area Director at Taps Management. “And we start losing more folks because they just feel overworked at that point.”

According to the Missouri Office of Workforce Development, there are more than three thousand job openings in the Joplin Metropolitan Area. That number increases to 200 thousand when you look at the entire state of Missouri.

There are several reasons why people may not be applying for jobs, including anxiety surrounding going back to work during the pandemic. But, many at the state and local level are pointing to enhanced unemployment benefits — claiming beneficiaries are choosing to draw unemployment because they make more in benefits than they would if they re-entered the workforce.

The estimated number of unemployed Missourians was 128,920 in March 2021, down by 3,618 from February’s 132,538, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.

“We’ve got 200 thousand job openings in the state of Missouri. So jobs are out there. They may not be the one you want, but the whole point of it is there are jobs out there,” says Missouri Governor Mike Parson. “And we’ve got so much incentives right now for people not to go to work, we’ve gotta start cutting that back from the government level and getting people back in the workforce.”