Bismarck-Mandan companies struggle to find employees

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BISMARCK, N.D. - With unemployment rates in Bismarck and Mandan at an all-time low, those who want to work can afford to be choosy.

But that also means businesses can struggle to find enough employees.

Burleigh and Morton counties' labor force consists of over 65,000 people, with only 1,300 searching for jobs.

Closing out 2018, Burleigh and Morton counties had close to 5,000 businesses, with an unemployment rate of 2.1 percent.

This year, more companies are making their home in the Bismarck and Mandan.

"They're going to be pulling not only from the unemployed population, but people that are working elsewhere already," said Amy Arenz, Job Service North Dakota workforce center manager.

Laurence Kelly, the Pizza Hut division human resources director, said the company is beginning to cut restaurants with dining rooms, and are only allowing delivery or carry out.

"We stopped using the dining room portion of our store at a certain point because at this point we don't have the staff to run the restaurant portion. We still deliver and still do carryout, but the dining business we just can’t operate right now," said Kelly.

Kelly says the Pizza Huts in this area have always had complications, but the problem is slowly increasing.

"We have always seemed to struggle, but as of late it has gotten bad. Some of it has to do with the unemployment rate," said Kelly

Which has had long-term effects.

"It has impacted us. We've seen our sales drop in some areas and we have a strong need for drivers in some areas," said Kelly.

However, Kelly and the Pizza Hut franchisee remain optimistic about the ongoing employment issues.

"It’s been a long time coming, and I think it’s something we're going to have to find a way to deal with it," said Kelly.

It hopes to stay open and keep a full staff.

Arenz says the current 2.1 percent unemployment rate in Burleigh and Morton Counties is the same as the statewide rate.