Employee shortage leads to longer wait times across industries

Help wanted
Help wanted(KVLY)
Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 6:43 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The nationwide staffing shortages have led to longer wait times across industries. North Dakota leaders say it’s only going to get worse. There are 30,000 open jobs across the state, but the governor says he has a plan.

”I had an appointment this morning, they never showed up, never called…and this is going to become systemic if we don’t do anything about it.” said North Dakota’s Commerce Commissioner James Lieman.

Over the weekend at the Verizon store on 45th st. customers were facing an hours-long wait time, with only two employees working. Help wanted signs are up across the state and across industries; food, retail, and health care all looking for more workers.

“It took us a while to get our food.” said ND Job Service’s Dustin Hillebrand, “I was watching these employees running around bringing food out, it wasn’t like they were standing around doing nothing.”

Leiman said the staffing shortage isn’t because North Dakotans aren’t working, it’s because of economic growth.

“It’s going to get worse because we’ve been very adept and very good at economic development.” said Leiman.

“It’s not like our folks are just sitting around not doing anything,” said Hillebrand.

Leiman said the problem is especially critical because of North Dakota’s geographical isolation.

“The projects are coming the opportunities are here, but we need people to augment that.” said Leiman

The two say the state’s work force participation is among the highest in the nation.

For solutions to the worker shortage, Leiman points to Governor Bergum’s Accelerate ND plan to use unconventional methods to recruit new workers. The plan includes recommendations for investing North Dakota’s state allocation of federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.

“We’re going to have to get serious about bringing people in from different parts of the country and the world to solve some of those staffing shortages.” said Leiman.

He said the plan recommends the state invests $326 million in work force and economic development.

For businesses facing staffing shortages, Hillebrand asks people to be patient.

“Showing a little bit of patience, it’s not like anybody wants to go to work and get yelled at…and understanding that everybody is in the same situation.”

The Accelerate ND plan is set to be proposed to the state senate on Oct. 13.

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