The factors contributing to the labor shortage in the Quad-Cities match trends seen across the U.S. as the Great American Labor Shortage shifts the labor market.
Help wanted: Quad-Cities businesses struggling to hire employees | Business & Economy
Meeting a new wage demand
To attract potential workers, Mike Jhala, owner of the Quality Inn & Suites on Brady Street, has raised wages by 40%. In order to maintain normal operations at the hotel with limited employees, Jhala said he is paying a lot of overtime.
“It’s increased our operation costs,” Jhala said. “You’re getting raises, bonuses, all that kind of stuff, and you’re also paying overtime. And you’re bringing in new employees at higher wages. It just adds more stress to the system.”
An increase in wages means increased costs for the consumer, as businesses have to charge more to stay economically viable. Even if businesses are able to absorb costs for consumers now, in the long run with increased wage prices, it isn’t sustainable for small businesses.
“You’re seeing it right now,” said Trent Lorfeld, owner of Bowlmor Lanes on Brady Street. “Everything, I mean everything, that we’re purchasing to run the business is going up, including labor, eventually we’ll have to do something.”
Multiple business owners said the pandemic unemployment benefits given to workers were contributing to the shortage. Economists said while it might play a role in the shortage, it wasn’t the only factor.