Missouri employers plan to return to pre-pandemic staffing levels by end of 2021

Missouri employers plan to return to pre-pandemic staffing levels by end of 2021

A statewide survey by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center reveals that though most employers report workforce fluctuations because of the coronavirus pandemic, a little more than 50% expect to be back to pre-pandemic staffing levels by the end of 2021.

An employer survey portion of the Economic and Workforce Report tracks job growth, hiring trends, skill shortages and other data points. This year’s survey was delayed to collect information about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Missouri’s workforce.

“It’s clear from the data the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent economic impact presented major challenges for Missouri businesses,” Veronica Gielazauskas, assistant commissioner for performance and strategy for the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development, told KTTN. “However, the fact that most employers anticipate retaining employment levels over the next 12 months, and that a greater percentage of employers plan to expand employment next year, gives reason for optimism moving forward.”

The latest National Association of Manufacturers survey reveals that nearly three-quarters of respondents were optimistic about the outlook for the companies. Nearly two-thirds expect revenue to be back to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021.

“Many employers may continue having employees that are able to be productive continue working from home after the pandemic is under control,” Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri, told The Center Square. “The second biggest challenge for employers is trying to follow all the changing federal, state and local guidelines in their effort to keep their employees and customers safe.”

Though the pandemic was a large barrier to employment growth over the past year, lack of workers who had advanced skills or knowledge related to the trade continues to be the largest barrier to expansion. The majority of those employers are addressing this shortage with on-the-job training. According to the survey, the greatest shortages are in skilled trades and patient care.

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