Local pay on the rise as 4-State employers compete for new hires

Now Hiring Sign


There’s no shortage of “Now Hiring” signs throughout the 4-State area, but that doesn’t mean local companies are having an easy time filling positions.

“They are trying to hire people on their own, and when they do drug screens and get those completed and then the employees don’t show up to work the next day, they realize they’re spending that money, and those people don’t show up, and so they’re at a loss,” said Kara Shanks, a business development representative for Joplin’s Express Employment Professionals.

The team at Express Employment Professionals says that companies’ desperation for employees has translated into one of the best situations ever for those who want to work.

“If you are looking for work right now, you are in the best time because you have all the cards. If you are looking for something with the highest pay, this is when you’re going to get it,” said Shanks.

Competitive pay has been a recipe for success for Galena’s Oasis Car Wash Systems which has filled up most of its open assembly positions.

“(It’s the) perfect opportunity for them to come in, especially the young ones, and learn a trade. And the pay right now is some of the best I’ve ever seen,” said Mike Cook, production manager for Oasis Car Wash Systems.

Both Oasis Car Wash Systems and Express Employment Professionals say they see more people looking for work after Missouri opted out of the federal COVID-19 unemployment benefits, but that hasn’t cooled off the red hot job market.

“There’s a lot of places where you can just walk in and get hired. And not just with us. There’s plenty of businesses out there where if you walk in and say, ‘I’m ready to work,’ they’ll hire you. You can walk in here and within an hour, we’ll have jobs ready for you,” said Shanks.

The team at Employment Express Professionals also says that several companies they work with had pay rates around $11 an hour pre-pandemic. But as of now, general labor in the 4-State area is paying closer to $14 an hour.