LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Despite the 4.1% unemployment rate in Michigan in August, 142,000 jobs still remain unfilled in Michigan, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Even though many Michigan businesses are offering high hourly rates and huge signing bonuses, help wanted
signs remain a staple of the Michigan landscape. As we have reported in the past, many places, including
hospitals and schools, are offering bonuses of $10,000 or more to recruit workers but those incentives don’t
appear to be enough to fix the labor crisis.

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The labor crisis in Michigan has been attributed to many things including the pandemic and Gov. Gretchen
Whitmer’s lockdown rules which have resulted in business closings, people staying at home due to generous
government payments, employees changing careers, a lack of child care, an aging population that is retiring
(sometimes earlier than expected) and many other contributing factors.

Some of the hardest hit and most noticeable shortages have appeared in restaurants, hospitals, childcare,
skilled trade and transportation according to the Traverse City Ticker’s story on hiring for critical jobs.

The story spotlighted Precision Plumbing & Heating in Traverse City as having a current status of “red” in their
hiring, which means a crisis-level labor shortage. The company said that while staffing problems have been an
“escalating problem” for years, it is now a genuine crisis. Leslie Roe, Precision owner, pointed out that “Our
hiring manager has been in HR for more than 30 years and she has never experienced anything like it is right
now.” She went on to say that it’s particularly concerning with winter season right around the corner and the
amount of emergency calls they usually get.

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Besides companies that rely on skilled trades, the restaurant industry continues to have challenges in finding
enough employees. Customers continue to experience limited hours and closed signs on restaurant doors.
Bridge Michigan talked to Dan West, president and CEO of the Livonia Chamber of Commerce, who said,
“There are a lot of restaurant owners still struggling to get people to work (for them.)” and adds “accounting,
engineering, finance, all are still very much in need.” They also report that only 60.1% of working-age
Michiganders were working or looking for a job in August.

To open up a larger pool of job applicants, companies are re-thinking the need to require college degrees for
some of their job openings.

Computerworld reports that many tech companies have started to reject the notion that their employees need
college degrees. With a talent shortage, they may not have a choice. Apple, Google, IBM, Tesla, and Accenture
have all changed job requirements to prioritize an applicant’s skills over IT occupational degrees.

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This appears to be a trend in other areas as well – or at least, something on the radar of many other industry
executives and owners.

An Indeed survey in April said that 59% of employers are considering eliminating college degree requirements
for hiring.