CLEVELAND – As businesses seek to hire, retain their workforces or simply keep the doors open at their sites, many have been begun to ask, “Where are the workers?”
Recent statistics show there are two jobs for every person unemployed. Did everyone retire? Were too many unemployment benefits made available? Is everyone at home taking care of the children? Have people just decided they no longer want to work?
While there are many anecdotal answers, Bethia Burke, president of Fund for Our Economic Future, says her organization went looking for the real reasons here in northeastern Ohio. The Fund joined forces with the Corporate University at Kent State University Stark, Team NEO, PolicyBridge, ConxusNEO and the Center for Marketing and Opinion Research to use surveys, roundtables and other ways to extract information from business leaders and workers in the 11-county area, which includes Trumbull and Mahoning counties.
“We did a team effort to get this broad set of information both from execution partners as well as funding partners,” Burke says.
What they found is published on the website WhereAretheWorkers.com.
Burke says there is not one explanation to the question, adding that people are complicated. One in three employees said they were laid off since the pandemic began, Burke says. Employers are struggling to find employees. Attitudes about work seem to have changed.
“It really felt like a point in time when companies were asking what they could do to be more competitive for talent and without asking workers, who would know[?],” Burke said.