SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – We are almost half way through 2021 and businesses are still struggling to fill positions as a nationwide job vacancy crisis continues.
It’s not only having issues getting people back on the job but it’s facing another problem. Carl Fisher Company right in downtown Springfield has been around for nearly a century. Like many businesses around the nation, they are still facing issues caused by the pandemic.
Rising vaccination rates and enormous amounts of federal stimulus aid are boosting consumer spending. Yet employers in sectors like manufacturing, restaurants and construction are struggling to find workers.
Carl Fisher Company is a sheet metal fabrication shop and has been in business for nearly 100 years. It sits right in downtown Springfield on Wilcox Street, next to MGM Springfield. It’s just one of hundreds of Massachusetts businesses that had trouble getting people back on the job during this pandemic.
“Between their unemployment and the extra unemployment provided by the federal government they were making more money sitting home than coming back to work.” Jim Talbot
Many companies are still struggling to get workers. Although most employees have returned to work at Carl Fisher Company there’s a new problem, there’s limited material available.
“No one is working, lack of supply. It’s driving prices through the roof. Metal used to be 40 cents a pound back in September. Now you’re talking $1.25-$1.50 for steel right now.”
At least five states, including Connecticut and New Hampshire are offering anywhere from $500 to $2,000 to unemployed people who find jobs.
It remains to be seen whether Massachusetts joins its New England neighbors and other states in offering new cash incentives for those who rejoin the workforce. Local leaders say incentives are good, but more needs to be done.
“When we’re offering people minimum wage jobs there is not much of an appetite for people to go back to work so we have to make sure that people are being well compensated and given a living wage so they can afford to live.” Rep. Orlando Ramos
There are more job openings this spring than before the pandemic hit last March and fewer people in the labor force.