Chamber Says Labor Shortage Hurting Local Economy | | #insurance | #seniors | #elderly
Chamber on Labor Shortage Affecting Valley Economy: ‘We’re There Now’
SHAMOKIN DAM – You may have noticed restaurants and other Valley businesses have been starting to close early lately or not evening opening on certain days. Many say one reason is worker shortages.
It’s already starting to negatively affect the area’s economy, says Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Garrett, “A few businesses have said to us, ‘Hey listen, we’d love to expand in the Greater Susquehanna Valley…we can’t. We can’t find employees here; we have to look other places. ‘Right now, we can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. We have to make sure we make this a priority.”
A lot of blame seems to be put on people wanting to stay on better unemployment benefits rather than return to work, but Garrett says that’s not the whole answer, “For over a year, we’ve been sort of duty-bound to remind folks if you’re offered employment and you’re currently on unemployment, and you don’t take that employment, that’s insurance fraud. It is possibly with a handful of folks? Sure. But I’m not going to suggest that folks are knowingly breaking the law.”
Garrett says this is the bottom line, “We have more jobs that we have people looking for work. It’s a basic mathematical equation. We have a few too many incentives away from work and some disincentives to going back to work. We’re trying to those removed; we’re trying to get them modified.”
Garrett says some of these other factors include the elderly wanting back in the workforce but there’s disincentives from retirement systems, and we’re educating people to positions that don’t exist in this area anymore. He also says some parents continue to be forced to choose between staying at home with children still conducting virtual learning as to returning to work.
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