As Iowa recovers from the recession, a worker shortage is making it hard to compete with other states, according to north Iowa business consultant David Underwood.
He’s part of a state panel that tracks economic trends and the likely effect on tax receipts. Underwood says in the last few weeks, he’s heard from several employers who are struggling to find employees, especially skilled workers.
“I’ve been working with one business in north Iowa, trying to fill a position and it’s difficult,” Underwood says. “It’s all across the board, manufacturing, service, wholesalers, even some of the retailers are having trouble.”
Iowa’s unemployment rate rose slightly during August to 4.9%, up just one-tenth of a point from July. The September jobless numbers should be out this week.
Underwood says Iowa’s employers have been in this situation before, desperate for skilled laborers.
Underwood says, “It was difficult 10 to 15 years ago to fill slots and then unemployment went up and there were a lot of people available all of the sudden and now we’re getting back to the unemployment rate that’s almost considered a full employment rate.”
Underwood, who’s from Clear Lake, represents the private sector on the state’s three-member Revenue Estimating Conference.