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State Adding Jobs Rapidly, Without Workers to Fill Them – 9 & 10 News – 9&10 News

by Arifa Rana

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It’s Economic Development Week in Michigan as the state touts new jobs brought in but what about all the unfilled jobs the state already have?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are 11.5 million job openings nationwide right now, enough for each current job seeker to have two. That labor shortage is also felt here in Northern Michigan.Econ And Jobs Pkg 5 10 2200 00 00 12still001
To mark Economic Development Week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer is highlighting the 174,000 jobs added in the past year. That’s great news on its face, but it really matters on what kind of jobs those are.
“I like to say with economic development you have to have things tailored to meet companies at all sectors and all sizes of the market,” said Quintin Messer, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
The billion dollar General Motors deal near Lansing grabs headlines but for most communities they benefit from jobs of all kinds.
“It’s about creating mixed use development, creating housing, creating restaurants, creating commercial storefronts,” said Messer, “In places on both peninsulas.”
Adding jobs doesn’t mean much with nobody willing to fill them.
“It’s definitely a job seeker‘s market,” said Diane Culver, of Northwest Michigan Works.
That’s the reality with the market in Northwest Michigan.
“We have over 6,000 openings in the 10-county region we serve,” said Culver.
She said a lack of child care and affordable housing is forcing the labor pinch. It’s too expensive to work some jobs.
“Having good paying jobs is important and matching the skills to the jobs is always going to be something we have to focus on,” said Culver.
Employees now have options. With so many open jobs, they can pick and choose what is best for them.
“A lot of individuals that were in the service industry have looked into getting into a different career so they’re going to go to different types of training,” said Culver, “Not necessarily a traditional university route but maybe some skilled trades.”
That creates a shortage in those service positions.
“We’re going to see that continue if we don’t do something about the housing and the daycare crisis,” said Culver.
In Northern Michigan demand is about to spike with the tourism season approaching. More people will require more help.
Culver said this is going to be one of the strongest years for seasonal and student workers, while doing little to help the long term issues.
“They’re definitely going to make more money than they have in the last few years,” said Culver, “There’s definitely jobs available and they’re going to have their choice of where they want to work.”

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