Business owners find skilled laborers are hard to find during COVID-19 pandemic

While many are still out of employment, some industries are scrambling to find employees to meet the labor demand.

News 12 Staff

Apr 24, 2021, 2:20 AM

Updated 1,125 days ago

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The unemployment rate continues to drop around the country at 6% in March with nearly 10 million people out of work.
But while many are still out of employment, some industries are scrambling to find employees to meet the labor demand. Members of the painting and masonry industries say that they are finding it difficult to find long-term employees.
“Skilled labor is really hard to find. We can’t grow any bigger because there’s no good skilled labor out there,” says Fernando Messercola, owner of Messercola Excavating.
The lack of employees means that many customers must wait months for the work to be done.
“We explain to customers if they want us to do a job, they have to give us a chance to go slowly because we don’t have enough employment,” says Sebastian Painting and Handyman owner Jose Diaz Naoem.
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Naoem says that the phones once rang off the hook with prospective employees, but now he must search for labor on social media platforms.
“For now, I only have two people call. Two people, that’s a surprise for me,” he says.
Messercola says that he has had similar experiences.
“We put numerous ads in the paper and we don’t get that many phone calls. A lot of people are staying on unemployment,” he says.
The pandemic may have enhanced the issue but it was there before. According to the Department of Labor, the United States economy had 7.6 million unfilled jobs, but only 6.5 million people were looking for work as of January 2019.
“The new generation, they don’t want to do this. It’s going to be a huge problem in the future for us,” says Naoem.
The business owners say that they attribute the lack of employees to a changing workforce, fear surrounding the pandemic and extended unemployment benefits.


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