Two for Three | Urban Living
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Two for Three

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God forbid you might be an employer right now trying to hire worker bees who might actually show up to an interview, or better yet, be hired and stay for a while. Can we say Salt Lake City is in a labor crisis mode and we're teetering on a really big problem this next decade?

Examples I've heard of recently: 1. A company just opened at a local mall and needs 160 employees. It's been able to recruit 60; 2. Landscapers are paying undocumented workers $15 an hour for manual labor. A friend of mine tells me he can't hire any of them for less than that amount; 3. A restauranteur buddy places ads, and gets no calls. They're offering starting wages in the kitchen of $12.50-$15 per hour; 4. A manager at UPS tells me he hired one worker who after two days of delivering packages walked off the job and left the keys in the van with the motor running; 5. A small business owner I know says that when they place an ad and hire a new employee, that he or she doesn't show up ever again and won't return calls; and finally 6. Another friend tells me that restaurant managers are cannibalizing their neighbors' restaurants and offering competing employees "$1-$2 more an hour if you come and work for us!"

If you can't find people to work for you, then you might have to do their jobs, right? So many of my friends who own small businesses are tearing their hair out doing their management jobs and the work of their employees—some putting in 15 hours a day. There's no quality of life when you're working that many hours. And if you're overworked, you're not going out to restaurants, enjoying movies and local entertainment, buying new cars or houses. You simply have no time.

This is scary. And to back that up, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce just validated in its recent job report that Utah has only two workers for every three jobs. Do you wonder why Gov. Gary Herbert wrote President Donald Trump and simply said, "Send Utah your refugees." The chamber reported that as of June 2019 there were 81,333 available jobs per month with only 57,071 workers to fill those jobs. The state's Worker Availability Ratio (available workers per open position) was the fifth-lowest in the nation during that period.

The chamber also says that it is, "Working to close both the skills gap and the people gap in the American workforce in numerous ways, including education and talent development programs, immigration and labor policy research and advocacy." The Department of Homeland Security reported that 1,096,611 people obtained lawful permanent resident status in 2018. If we divvied up those people into 50 states, that's 22,000 per state. That would still be half of what we need.