Bloomington businesses struggle to hire employees with more potential leaving as IU goes on summer break

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Hiring issues are impacting businesses all across Bloomington. The Chamber of Commerce says employers aren’t getting the same number of applicants as they are used to, and those people who do apply may not be qualified for the job.

“I think what the data is showing us is that people have dropped out of the labor market during the pandemic,” explains Erin Predmore, President and CEO of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber says the lack of prospective employees has their unemployment rates sitting between 4% and 5%. One concern they are seeing is job seekers concerned about finding safe childcare during the pandemic. This could lead to one parent staying home instead of seeking employment.

The majority of the trouble appears to be coming in the public facing sector where employees have to interact with customers or each other. Now some of those businesses are getting creative to entice workers.

“We took a little price increase here, so we are shifting almost all of that into wages. We are bumping wages up,” explains Jeff Mease who is the Founder and CEO of One World Enterprises. His company owns several restaurants in Bloomington, “That’s just what needs to happen. Wages have to come up, then the unemployment will settle down.”

The troubles come as Indiana University gets out for summer break. Predmore expects some employed students to leave the local job market, however there are students who stay. Mease hopes those who do will actively seek summer jobs.

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