SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Dalton Hughes is 25 years old, works hard and he’s turned years of that hard work into a resume-worthy amount of experience. In other words, (the words of his employer Pat Duran) Dalton is a rare breed.
“Skilled staff is pretty hard to come by in Springfield,” Duran says. “We call them unicorns.”
Duran is the owner of Dalton’s workplace, Great American Taco Company. He also owns Metropolitan Grill. Up until a few weeks ago he owned Metro’s neighbor Vespa Kitchen.
That is until Vespa went under.
“Honestly it just came down to staffing,” says Duran. “I was killing my existing staff due to our lack of staff.”
Duran explained his plight in black and white on the front door of Vespa, writing a letter that says the closing was due to quote “the current labor crisis we are suffering in the Springfield area.”
Katherine Trombetta with the Springfield Job Center says that crisis is a real thing and is the result of fewer people looking for jobs.
“With the economy booming right now, those people who want jobs are employed. There are just fewer workers out there to draw from,” she told KOLR10.
Which means businesses like Duran’s will have to wait for the economy to slow down and in the meantime pick from what’s left of the labor pool.
“There needs to be balance. There’s a lot of things opening pretty fast that are disrupting the labor market as well,” he says. “I feel like we’re picking the best of the worst.”