Area employers report that they have had a hard time hiring over the last few months. Some say it could be due to fallout from COVID-19 benefits and the stimulus bill.
A few local St. Maries businesses have said that they either can’t get qualified applicants – or they can’t get any applications at all.
Cabin City Q owner, Whitney Haynes, said that she has had troubles getting locals to commit to taking positions she advertises. Along with an overall lack of applications being turned in, she said that she and her staff has had to work overtime for more than a few weeks.
“You can’t get anybody who wants to work,” Mrs. Haynes said. “You’ll get someone to apply sometimes but who knows if they’ll show up.”
She said that she thinks the increase of unemployment benefits in regards to COVID-19 has been part of the issue.
“People don’t want to commit to working for a couple days a week when they can collect as much from the government,” Mrs. Haynes said.
Harvest Foods manager, Roger Nelson, also cited that stimulus money and unemployment benefits has had an impact on the amount of applications the store receives when it is hiring.
“We have a really good group of core people but it has gotten harder to fill positions when someone does leave,” Mr. Nelson said. “We get very few applicants, and get people who don’t want to come to work because of the stimulus benefits. There was an increase in unemployment benefits and that has been extended into September.”
He said that hiring had not been a problem until the pandemic hit Idaho.
“We have very little turnover but it is becoming a challenge when we do,” Mr. Nelson said. “We pay people well and treat them well.”
Archie’s IGA owner, Brian McGregor, said that their store has also faced similar challenges, though he did not note whether or not stimulus benefits were a factor.
He said that he has previously never had a problem with replacing people until now. At the time of this report, Mr. McGregor said that the store is actively trying to fill five to six different positions.
“We are having an issue with a lack of applicants or even qualified applicants,” Mr. McGregor said. “We tend to get turnover in some departments and it was never an issue to hire someone to replace those people but over the last few months it's hard to get anyone in here.”
Other employers in the area reported that they experienced hiring difficulties during the first few months of the pandemic, but things have slowly gotten better.
Cutthroat Resort owner, Amanda Clairy, said that for a few months she had a hard time getting people to turn in applications. An issue she says is slowly fading.
“We were pretty slow on receiving applications there for awhile,” Ms. Clairy said. “Last year was really hard, but as we head into the season we are doing really good.”
The kitchen manager at the Gateway Cafe in Plummer, Wayne Morgan, also said that things have been looking up when it comes to hiring.
“Things are getting better,” Mr. Morgan said. “We just posted a hiring ad on our Facebook and we did one about a month ago and got a lot of applicants. We are looking pretty good right now.”