What the labor market and labor shortages look like in Greater Lansing

We gave him a lot of names.

The great resignation. The big reshuffle. Even the “great resign”.

“But from our perspective, the big reshuffle is really what we’re seeing because it’s not that workers are just leaving the workforce as a whole,” said Carrie Rosingana, CEO of Capital Area Michigan Works. !. “It’s that they are looking for these new jobs and these new opportunities where they feel comfortable and safe and the culture is really what they are looking for as an employee. “

The COVID-19 pandemic devastated the local job market in 2020, causing many businesses to shut down temporarily or permanently. The region experienced record unemployment rates in April 2020 at 21.6% for Eaton County, 18.8% for County Clinton and 18.3% for Ingham County.

Display of workers looking for workers seen on Tuesday January 11, 2022 at Wendy's on East Kalamazoo Street in Lansing.

But as businesses reopened and restrictions eased in 2021, workers have not returned. The region, state and country have experienced labor shortages for months and this continues until 2022.

In over 30 years of working in human resources, hiring and recruiting, Sherry Pfaff-Doody, Director of Talent Acquisition for Sparrow Health System, has never seen anything like employers face. currently with labor shortages.

“I would say it’s more stressful than ever,” she said.

Are there still shortages?

In Michigan, 11 of 14 metropolitan statistical areas remained stable or added jobs (not seasonally adjusted) in November, according to the Michigan’s Labor Market News January edition by the Office of Labor Market Information and Policy Initiatives.

Of these, the Lansing region experienced the largest percentage increase in unadjusted non-farm payroll employment at 4.8%.

However, it has not returned to pre-pandemic levels. Although employment in the “professional and business services sector” increased 1.4% in November, employment remained 10.9% below employment levels in November 2019.

“There are definitely still shortages,” Rosingana said.

Signage looking for workers seen on Tuesday January 11, 2022 at Taco Bell in Frandor.

She attributes these shortages in part to pandemic challenges and systematic barriers people have faced since 2020, including seeking child care and concerns of contracting COVID-19.

Access to affordable, high-quality child care continues to disrupt working parents, especially women, forced out of the workforce to care for children due to COVID-19. Nearly 9,000 children in the Lansing area have been displaced from care during the pandemic, exacerbating a pre-existing child care gap in the region, said Victoria Meadows, strategic director of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, in an e -mail.

Jeremy Isaac from Lansing is looking for IT work on Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at the Capital Area Michigan headquarters in Lansing.

School closures or going virtual have also had an impact on the labor market for student workers. The Lansing area is home to Michigan State University, Lansing Community College, Davenport University, and other colleges and universities. Having fewer students in the region has left many entry-level customer service positions open, Rosingana said.

When it comes to the Sparrow Health System workforce shortages, there were over 380 positions. listed for Greater Lansing on his career website Wednesday night. Pfaff-Doody said open positions can range from 40 hours to a few hours per week.

Before the pandemic, there was a nationwide shortage of nurses and medical assistants. So getting into pandemic hospitals knew the coming years were going to be a challenge, she said.

Members of the organization have stepped up to address these shortages by sitting with patients, cleaning facilities and more.

“It’s not just local, and it’s not just hospitals,” Pfaff-Doody said. “I mean, it’s national, it’s international, it’s global. We all face the same challenges. “

How has the hiring landscape changed?

Labor turnover is higher than it has ever been since the launch of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) program conducted by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2000.

When unemployment rates improved after a recession or during periods of “full employment” such as 2017 to 2019, job turnover rates hovered around 7%.

“Michigan’s job churn rate has averaged 9-11% in 2020 and 2021 so far. This indicates that workers move more freely between jobs and are more comfortable leaving an employer than at any time since 2000, ”wrote Wayne Rourke, associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, in Michigan’s Labor Market News in January.

The number of people leaving their jobs is also at near record highs in Michigan and the United States. The years 2018 and 2019 were the first to have on average just over 100,000 workers quitting their jobs each month in Michigan. In 2021, an average month saw 125,000 workers quit their jobs in Michigan.

“This means that more than 3% of the estimated 4.2 million employed people quit their jobs each month,” Rourke wrote.

The signage looking for conductors was seen on Tuesday, January 11, 2022 at Sir Pizza on South Cedar Street in Lansing.

Pfaff-Doody said there were a lot more opportunities for people and now is the time for them to explore what they really want to do, find the right one for them and look at the opportunities. advancement that exist in an organization.

One of the ways that Sparrow Health System tries to attract employees is by creating six different “develop your own programs” programs.

“So that means we’ll hire people and train them for that role so that they’re not like going through a two-year degree program and paying out of pocket for that education,” he said. she declared. “We say to you, come work for us, give us a two-year contract and we will train you in this specific area.

The company has also implemented login bonuses and retention bonuses. These efforts and a “nice package of benefits” helped attract some applicants, but not enough, she said.

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Some companies are getting creative with financial incentives beyond raising wages, but the companies LEAP sees most successful are making sustainable, holistic organizational changes to focus on company culture, adequate and competitive compensation and benefits, building a talent pool through partnerships and leveraging available resources. workforce resources and tools, Meadows said.

Rosingana said employers are looking at the needs of the business and the employees. If customer traffic is down, employers can potentially reduce the number of people in that department. They need to look at flexible scheduling for staff, work remotely, talk about corporate culture, plans to protect employees from COVID-19, and have paid mental health days for staff to recharge.

While these labor market dynamics may be difficult now, it will help make everyone stronger in the long run, Rosingana said.

“It allows both parties to really talk about the things that are important to them. And I think in the long run that’s only good for retention purposes in our book, ”she said.

Display of workers looking for workers seen on Tuesday January 11, 2022 at Brenner Heating and Cooling in Lansing.

What will the labor market look like in 2022?

Pfaff-Doody wishes she had a crystal ball for the coming year.

There was a spike in hiring during the summer months when COVID-19 was not as prevalent. If schools return in person and parents return to work, people could re-enter the market, hopefully creating a slight increase in the talent available in the labor pool.

“All I can hope for is that the pipeline starts to fill up,” she said.

Meadows said that while the company continues to make positive progress against COVID-19, LEAP is optimistic.

“2021 has brought many new employers to the region and existing businesses are growing. We anticipate this same trend in 2022 and will continue to work to connect employers looking for talent and education and workforce development and training partners to help job seekers. job to find those jobs, ”she said.

Rosingana said the job market has created opportunities for innovation and for employers to work more closely with employees to shape what the workforce looks like within their organizations.

“So for me, these are all really encouraging things and I think as employers that you see this willingness to take a look at it and be creative and innovative, you are going to see them continue to thrive and grow as they go. that we get out of the COVID pandemic, ”she said.

Job seekers and employers can find out more on the CAMW website! and can contact his Lansing office at 517-492-5500. People can find out more about LEAP on its website and can call 517-702-3387.

Display of workers looking for workers seen on Tuesday January 11, 2022 at Dunham's Sports in Lansing.

Contact Bryce Airgood at 517-267-0448 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @ bairgood123.

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