Livingston County feeling shift in hiring landscape into 2022

Livingston County feeling shift in hiring landscape into 2022

While January is normally a big month for job seekers, the pandemic brought an unprecedented shift in the hiring landscape.

Labor shortages in many industries across the state and in Livingston County are expected to continue this year. 

The county’s low unemployment rate can be deceiving. Many county residents commute outside of the county for higher-paying jobs. Meanwhile, some employers in the county face a shortage of workers who often cannot afford the county’s high cost of living.

Suzy Murphy, vice president of staffing operations at WSC Staffing, talks Tuesday, June 1, 2021 about the trends in matching employers to those who have been challenged in finding employment.

Brighton-based staffing agency WSC Staffing, which recently changed its name from Action Associates, continues to struggle to find enough job applicants for the employers they help staff. 

“Back in February 2020, when there was a shortage already, we were talking to between 200 and 250 job candidates a day for a variety of jobs,” agency vice president Suzy Murphy said. 

Nearly two years later, it has only rebounded to about 75-80 job candidates a day, after dropping to as low as 30 a day during 2020 pandemic shutdowns, Murphy said. 

“There are still going to be shortages. We still have so many jobs open in the county, not just in manufacturing, but education, warehousing.”

She said most job candidates live outside the county. 

Pam McConeghy, President of the Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce, discusses a job application with Nick Moots, 19, of Fowlerville, at a restaurant jobs fair at the chamber office on Friday, Jan. 14.

She said a few factors are at play, including people leaving jobs due to concern about COVID-19, vaccine mandates, low pay and unsatisfactory work environments. 

She said younger workers are making the most job changes, and some older workers are retiring early.  

“We see it in the under-30 crowd. There is a cultural shift, and younger workers are saying, I can participate more in the gig economy and piece together work, not 9-to-5. They are going to Lyft and Uber of cyber currency mining. There are so many dot-com startups these folks are getting into.”