MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Twin Cities North Chamber of Commerce, recently held a legislative session wrap-up event at the National Sports Center in Blaine with legislators, local officials and business leaders. 

Before discussing pressing issues at the state Capitol, MetroNorth Chamber President Lori Higgins shared results of a recent chamber survey that shows employers are concerned about their ability to hire employees. 

“Everyone is aware that companies are having a hard time filling positions, but we wanted to put some actual data behind that to prove that this is a real challenge for north metro businesses,” Higgins said.

From about 40 immediate responses representing all sizes of business in the north metro area, it was clear to Higgins that the hiring crisis is impacting industries of all shapes and sizes. “Jobs are going unfilled in not just the $15 per hour category but $20, $25 and higher,” Higgins said. 

It is taking longer to fill positions and applicants are not as well suited to the positions as they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Most importantly, this crisis is having a huge impact on a business’ ability to not just grow but sustain their operations. It's causing burnout with current employees, impacting the budget with the extra overtime and causing some to reduce hours of operation, production and customer service,” she said.

Paula Mueller, general manager at Northtown and Maplewood Malls, concurs. 

“Many businesses, like ours, are keeping reduced hours, even as pandemic restrictions are going away, because employers can’t find enough people to fill all of the positions,” Mueller said.

Communicating this information to elected officials and key stakeholders is just one piece of moving this issue forward. 

“While there is no magic silver bullet to solve this crisis, we will use this data to facilitate impactful initiatives and find meaningful solutions. In fact, the MetroNorth Chamber Workforce Development Committee is currently putting together a plan of how to best assist businesses with retaining their top talent and addressing the burnout/fatigue problem,” Higgins said.

— Submitted

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