Industry News

Where Have All the Employees Gone?

Unfortunately, this is not a new cover of Pete Seeger’s hit song from 1955. The reality that many companies face today is that there are very few people looking for employment. The United States has averaged a 5.7% unemployment rate since 1957; however, over the past 39 months, that rate has hovered around 3.9%, which is historically low. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics defines “unemployed’ as a person who does not have a job, has actively looked for work in the prior four weeks, and is currently available to work. Recently, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce stated that if every unemployed person in the country found a job, we would still have over 2 million open jobs.

So, what is contributing to the present labor shortage? According to Bloomberg, the pandemic sent more than 3 million adults into early retirement in 2021, and more workers continue to retire early. Many people are aware that the percentage of older people grows every day in the U.S. To compound the problem, younger generational cohorts are composed of smaller populations, and they are having fewer children. Moreover, many families have moved to one-worker households due in part to issues like lack of access to high quality, affordable child care.

While the current labor market is undoubtedly tough, it doesn’t mean propane marketers and suppliers are out of the race. Recruiting, training, and offering benefits that meet the needs of potential applicants are excellent ways to fill open positions. Both NPGA and PERC have a variety of workforce tools to make attracting and retaining employees easier. Additional tools and resources for members can be accessed on the Workforce section of NPGA’s website. One such tool marketers can use to assist in recruiting is the NPGA Registered Apprenticeship Program.

For more information, contact NPGA’s Senior Manager of State Association Relations, Eric Sears.