New season has yet to bring good news for employers facing worker shortage

(ABC 6 News) – A perfect storm mass retirements and the COVID-19 pandemic means businesses are short workers. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, or DEED, released new research that provides insight into what caused this exodus of employees.

"A whole host of things are happening in our market right now. Obviously, we have a huge lack of childcare in the state. There’s some real concern about the delta variant and the safety of in-person jobs and I think we’ve has the whole country kind of take a collective deep breath and a new look at what is a good job in today’s economy," DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said.

DEED also cited a retirement wave from the baby boomer generation, while fewer young people enter the workforce each year. However, the state is optimistic and believes things may turn around.

"Of course the fall brings new employment opportunities as the seasons shift too. So we do expect to see more and more people going back to work," Grove said.

Businesses locally aren’t seeing the same numbers just yet.

"It makes it a challenge. There’s days we can’t run the whole dining room. There’s days we can’t even open the dining room," Jerry Zubay, a co-owner of the restaurant Mr. Pizza North, said.

Zubay used to own four restaurants. The pandemic forced him to close two of them.

"It’s not something I’ve ever done before and I’ve been doing this now for 50 years. The bank wants their payment every month and they don’t really care how many people are on the schedule," Zubay said.

He doesn’t know if he’ll get back all he’s lost.

"I would imagine it would have to but the reality is I don’t know if you’ll be able to put the toothpaste back in the tube," he said.

However, he hasn’t lost his customers. They remain loyal and understanding.