Western Massachusetts businesses continue to face labor shortages caused by pandemic

Hampden County

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s a troubling sign for the economy as employers continue to face worker shortages, and it is impacting local businesses. 

Storrowton Tavern, like many businesses, has been forced to make major changes to offset the labor shortage. Its co-owner Vincent Calvanese told 22News, “Every aspect of this business has been challenged lately.” 

It’s something Calvanese hasn’t seen in the decades he’s worked in the restaurant industry. The worker shortages were brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Calvanese telling 22News he’s now making the hard decision to shorten business hours to offset the lack of workers. 

“We have to reduce the hours we are open only so we can give someone the day off because people are going to get burned out,” said Calvanese. “I’m burned out and it takes a lot for me to say that. But it’s still sad. We did not want to do this.” 

That burnout is being felt nationwide, economists projected that September was the month to see significant job growth, as pandemic unemployment benefits expired, but that was not the case. 

According to the latest federal jobs report, September did see an increase in employment for the hospitality industry, but experts say the number falls short of what was expected for September. 

“We have 11 million job openings and 11 million people out of work, and you would think, that’s an easy fix,” said Mark Teed of Raymond James Financial. “But there’s skills mismatch there. So, we need to figure that out.” 

Teed adds that economists are still hopeful for better job growth this month as we move towards the holidays. As the unemployment rate hits its lowest percentage since February of 2020, dropping down now to 4.8 percent.

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