(The Center Square) – More than 70% of West Virginia small businesses are struggling to find workers amid the national labor shortage that has hurt supply chains and contributed to rising inflation.
According to a report from the small business website Alignable, 71% of West Virginia small business owners reported difficulty in finding workers they need. This is 11% higher than the 60% who reported a labor shortage in February. West Virginia’s problems are worse than the national average, which showed about 63% of small businesses struggling to find workers.
Some of the most affected industries in West Virginia include restaurants, event planners, travel and lodging, automotive and retail, Chuck Casto, the head of research and corporate communications at Alignable, told The Center Square. The industry trends are similar to the national trends in the report.
West Virginia’s manufacturing industry is also struggling to find workers, according to Rebecca McPhail, the president of the West Virginia Manufacturers Association.
“Many of our members are still dealing with labor shortages,” McPhail told The Center Square. “From the need for highly trained, targeted skills workers, to challenges with competing with other sectors for entry level workers, the challenge is broad. Fortunately, our companies are meeting current business and product demands, but the issue is slowing the ability to grow and develop new business.”
Although West Virginia’s unemployment rate has been gradually trending downward, its labor force participation has mostly been stagnant. The state recorded its lowest unemployment rate in history at 3.7% in March (April numbers have not yet been reported). However, the labor force participation rate was the lowest in the country at only 55%.
Originally published by The Center Square. Republished with permission.
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