Fargo-Moorhead in Potential Worker Shortage?

A potential worker shortage could be harming our area's service industry

RED RIVER VALLEY — Fargo-Moorhead is hiring, but who’s applying?

A potential worker shortage could be harming our area’s service industry.

Welcome to Fargo-Moorhead: Home to “now hiring” signs as far as the eye can see.

It’s almost as if they never go away.

This proves to be a problem for employers trying to fill service industry positions.

“It’s a good problem to have,” said Craig Whitney, who is with the FMWF Chamber of Commerce.

A great problem for a growing city, but not a great problem for employers.

Magnolia’s in downtown Fargo closed less than three months after opening.

The owner says it was because of a workforce shortage, but there may be other factors.

“Did they have a solid business plan?” questioned Whitney. “Did they have changes in their lease? There’s other things that could have contributed to it.”

Kendra Stanko said a lack of applicants has been impacting Petro Serve USA for years.

She said they’re constantly hiring for service level employees across the Valley.

“It seems that we have a shortage of people to fill our positions,” agreed Stanko. “It’s been a shortage of people applying.”

“Yet, we have the lowest unemployment, probably in the country,” countered Whitney. “We have…about six months ago…about 6,500 open jobs. I think that is now down to about 4,000-4,500.”

Some employers say the challenge is more than finding enough people for the job, but finding the right person for the job too.

“You want to hire not just a warm body, but somebody that will really fit into your culture and your business,” explained Stanko.

She said consistently hiring the right employees prevented this worker shortage from causing locations to shut down.

Experts recommend staying competitive with benefits and wages offered by other companies.

“There is no question we have a shortage of workers,” said Whitney. “We’ve seen some restaurants and some businesses like that which have experienced that problem. We’re trying to deal with it.”

FMWF Chamber of Commerce officials say the national chains which closed throughout the last few months were not because of the local economy.

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