North Dakota employers are having a hard time filling jobs

Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 6:35 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Job Service North Dakota reports many businesses across the state are struggling to hire back workers.

The unemployment rate in North Dakota grew by .5 percent between January and February. Yet, business owners say they’ve been struggling to get potential employees through the door. They speculate it may be the result of a bump in federal aid to those receiving unemployment benefits.

Getting people to show up for a job interviews is becoming a challenge.

“So far, we’ve had 24 applications on that site. And, we’ve had 24 no-hires and 24 no-shows,” said Peacock Alley owner Dale Zimmerman.

“We probably have about half the people we set up interviews with not arrive for the interview,” said Radisson Hotel General Manager Samantha Schwab

Over at Peacock alley, owner Dale Zimmerman says it’s been easy getting people to apply for jobs, but they aren’t coming in to the interview.

“They’re not showing up for the interview. They’re not showing up for job offers. They don’t respond whatsoever. Some of them are from out of state,” said Zimmerman.

In North Dakota, unemployed workers must make a minimum of three job contacts a week to keep receiving benefits.

But, Zimmerman says this approach has backfired. He says he took to an employment website to help him fill the open jobs, but people would disappear after reaching out, which costs him $25 per application.

“It’s a problem because we’re competing against the federal government. The federal government is paying people a premium to stay at home, take 15 minutes of their day, send out fake applications and hope to God they never get responded to for an interview,” said Zimmerman.

Because of the staffing shortage, Zimmerman says Peacock Alley has had to reduce operating hours, cancel big events, which lost them money and limit its menus.

Radisson Hotel General Manager Samantha Schwab says no-shows are happening for every position.

“They’ll call, turn in an application, and will even call and schedule an interview. And then, they don’t arrive for the interview,” said Schwab.

Schwab has the same suspicions as Zimmerman when it comes to no-shows.

“If people are being offered an opportunity to stay home and be paid, then it’s difficult for them to want to come out,” said Schwab.

She says the hiring problem is making it hard for the hotel to get back to normal business and recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

“It’s hard to have increased business, which is what we want, but to not be able to staff properly to care for those people. So, it’s not great for your reputation if you don’t provide and it’s really hard on the staff that is here if they’re all being asked to give more of their time then they already are,” said Schwab.

Job Service North Dakota has been getting calls from business owners across the state with the same problem.

To combat this, Job Service has created a portal for employers to report no-shows anonymously.

“If we look into it and find the individual that no-showed is receiving unemployment insurance, that triggers an investigation because part of their duties to maintain their eligibility is making three job contacts a week,” Job Service North Dakota Communication Officer Sarah Arntson.

Both Zimmerman and Schwab say they want to be able to offer their customers the best possible service but simply don’t have the staff right now to do so.

If you’re a business owner struggling with no-shows, you can report it by visiting and clicking the yellow banner at the top of the page.

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