Wednesday, June 19, 2024

How a tight labor market affects Shreveport-Bossier

by BIZ Magazine

By Stacey Tinsley, BIZ. Magazine

Many people are taking advantage of the tight labor market to seek greener pastures, but there are side effects.

The U.S. Labor Department reported 10.9 million job openings in December, while November saw a record 4.5 million workers quit their jobs.

An economist with ZipRecruiter stated the numbers represent people quitting their job for a better one — either higher-paying, more prestigious or more flexible, the Washington Post reported.

Jeff Bomar, operations manager for Jean Simpson Personnel Services, said that extends to Shreveport with many companies upping wages due to their desperation for employees.

He adds that many of the local job openings are not totally due to people getting better or higher paying jobs.

“Some people have quit their current jobs for a better one, but I do not think that totally represents the total of job opening numbers,” Bomar said. “Post pandemic, the number of people looking for work still isn’t where it needs to be.  Some individuals who were getting assistance during the pandemic haven’t been motivated just yet to return to work or others have a fear of being around people.”

Louisiana unemployment numbers are slowly reaching pre-pandemic levels, and Bomar said local businesses in every type of sector are asking help to fill positions. Everyone from manufacturing companies to the hospitality sector has staffing needs, he said.  

“Here at Jean Simpson Personnel Services, Inc, we currently have over 300 open positions to fill. We have job openings for accountants, managers, customer service representatives, administrative assistants, general laborers, technicians, maintenance, food and beverage and many more,” Bomar pointed out.

Economists have noted that industries with lower-paying jobs — like the locally-important hospitality sector — are cutting hours, raising wages and getting creative to solve worker shortages. While Bomar said businesses may be cutting their hours due to employee shortages, local companies are having to rethink their way of doing business, as much as offering more pay, to find qualified employees who will stay with them.  

“I do think that companies in general are having to rethink their culture, structure and business model where employees are concerned, like offering more flexible shifts and work from home positions,” he said. “This has really changed the way companies do business.”

Jean Simpson Personnel Services, Inc. places qualified applicants in part time, full-time and direct hire positions and many of their client companies recognize the need for more flexibility by offering contract, remote work and part time work, which Bomar said he has seen an increase in compared to years past. Their role in helping other businesses gives them a unique perspective on the current workplace environment. Bomar notes that there is a worker shortage in Shreveport-Bossier and there are jobs available. 

“It seems that almost every company locally is looking to fill an open position. Of course, we have a lot of talented people locally (but) I am not sure if there is a lot of difference in the skill set of employees locally. I think there is a difference in the mindset of individuals wanting to find employment.”. 

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