Why is Springfield experiencing a labor shortage?

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – As a result of the pandemic, there is a huge labor shortage across the nation, and here in Springfield is no different.

The career center says there isn’t just one reason why there’s such a labor shortage.

There are many contributing factors including what the younger generation is looking for in a job, and why women specifically, are running into obstacles coming back to work.

“There are simply not enough workers to fill the open jobs by about a million nationwide,” said Sally Payne, director of workforce development with the city of Springfield.

She said it’s largely an effect of COVID, “really caused people to take a look at their life. Take a look at their job. Take a look at what they want out of life.”

There are people considering new careers, “do I need or want to work from home? There are so many people that have health concerns about going back to work,” said Payne.

There’s a population decrease, “People are having fewer kids, there’s not enough of the upcoming generation to fill the millions of more boomers that left the market and have decided to retire,” said Payne, “Some economists are calling this the ‘Yolo economy,’ you only live once.”

Younger generations want more, “Job seekers hold all the cards right now. And they are leveraging everything they can to get what they want.”

“Doing everything they can to meet those demands. We’ve seen wage increases, we’ve seen an increase in enhanced benefits packages,” Payne said.

But it may not be enough for young generations, “More job seekers are looking for greater workplace culture, and being valued, more than they’re looking for higher wages.”

And there is a disproportionate number of women in the workforce unable to come back to work, “There’s more men have come back to work than women. Women traditionally have stayed home with children, we’ve had daycare closures, childcare was a barrier pre-covid, and that as accelerated,” said Payne.

Payne said moms are a huge contribution to the workforce and economy.


If women can’t find help with childcare and transportation, it will have a significant effect on GDP.

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