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Employer Survey details Missouri employer perspectives on pandemic, skill needs

RDN REPORTS
The Rolla Daily News

The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) released new statewide employer survey results to correspond with its 2020 Missouri Economic & Workforce Report, which was published earlier this fall.

The Economic and Workforce Report tracks the state’s economy and workforce by fiscal year (July 2019 - June 2020). The corresponding employer survey results focus on several notable data points, including job growth, hiring trends, barriers to expanding employment, skill shortages, job applicant shortcomings, and a comparison of metro and non-metro employer responses.

This year the survey was delayed several months to ensure maximum employer participation and to gather feedback regarding the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on Missouri’s workforce. Responses were gathered from Missouri companies with five or more employees – 400 employers located in metro areas and 290 from non-metro areas of the state.

The data show that 58 percent of employers said that COVID-19 was the main driver for significant increases or decreases in employment. During the next year, however, 56 percent of employers expect staffing levels to remain the same as this year.

“It’s clear from the data the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent economic impact presented major challenges for Missouri businesses,” said Veronica Gielazauskas, assistant commissioner for performance and strategy. “However, the fact that most employers anticipate retaining employment levels over the next 12 months, and that a greater percentage of employers plan to expand employment next year, gives reason for optimism moving forward.”

Sixty-two percent of businesses report concerns about the workforce becoming ill, while 60 percent have experienced supply chain disruptions. The survey found that one-in-four respondents said COVID-19 was a barrier to expanding employment, but a shortage of workers with knowledge and skills continues to be the largest barrier to expansion.

Other data points in the survey include hiring practices regarding justice-involved individuals, how companies plan to move forward with filling skills gaps, how businesses adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic, and many others which give insight to how employers fared this year.

The Employer Survey and corresponding Economic and Workforce Report can be found online at https://meric.mo.gov/economic-research/mo-regional-economic-reports.