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National worker shortage impacts Rochester businesses

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- The national worker shortage is impacting businesses in southeast Minnesota.

It's a problem that could force even more local businesses to close.

"You can drive around the community and see help wanted signs all over the place," said Brad Trahan, a recruiter for Express Employment Professionals, a group that helps people get hired and helps businesses find employees.

Those hiring signs are staying up longer than usual as some managers wait months for positions to be filled.

"I need somebody for help. Because especially like in the nighttime, or on the weekends. It's really busy here. So it's stressful," said Samar Alwanan, owner of Al Madina Restaurant.

Al Madina needs at least two line cooks to help lighten the load for the family-owned business.

"Like for me, I don't have a rest right now. Because I have to be here all day. Because I am short employees," Alwanan said.

Job vacancies are becoming a common issue.

"There's a lot of frustration going on. There is a lack of workers without a doubt. We work with a lot of companies around southeast Minnesota, about a 30 to 40-mile radius. And it doesn't matter what industry you're in. If you're in manufacturing, if you're in hospitality, you name it, everyone is looking for workers," said Trahan.

The problem even changes how hiring managers look at potential candidates.

"Talking to some of the clients that I've talked to in the past is, they've lowered their standards a little bit to try to get people to come in the door. And at the end of the day, what's going to happen is. We're going to see these businesses close if they can't get the people to work there, "Trahan said.

Minnesota's Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) reported that statewide, the health care and social assistance industry has the most job vacancies. That's followed by retail trade, wholesale trade, accommodation and food services and manufacturing.

DEED also reports that during the fourth quarter of 2020, 40.5% of job openings were located in Greater Minnesota.

"When we're having the shortage of workers that we are in the country, and we are. It's no secret. Then, we have to say well, 'what are we doing at the federal government level? What are we doing at the state government level? And what are we doing at the local government level? What are we doing? What are the reasons?'" Trahan said.

He said Express has hundreds of job openings and believes employers need to have good incentives that help attract and keep employees. Trahan hopes those looking for a job, don't hesitate to apply.

Alwanan hopes an interested cook applies fast. She said she will train those who are interested.

"It's important for me to find some help to take some rest. That's why," Alwanan said.

"It's plain and simple, you can't run a business if you don't have help," Trahan said.

RELATED STORIES: Local businesses struggle to hire amid rising labor demand

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