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'The Great Resignation': Industries across Montana look different with staff shortages

Posted at 5:15 PM, Jan 15, 2022

MISSOULA — The pandemic is changing the workforce and how employers and employees work. It's being coined as the Great Resignation, and Montana is feeling the effects of the staff shortages.

“It's pretty detrimental that we keep our employees and our staff right now where we're at," said Shelby McCracken, Mary's Mountain Cookies owner.

The Missoula cookie shop is doing what they can to keep their cookie family together. That includes keeping wages competitive.

“We just treat them like family here, you know, it's like our own little cookie family," McCracken told MTN News. "You know, we try to go above minimum wage as well as like with tips and stuff like that.”

In Missoula, the non-seasonal job unemployment rate is 1.9%, which is the same as Montana’s non-seasonal job rate. Jessica Nelson, Montana Department of Labor & Industry public information officer, says this suggests that both Montana and Missoula are in low unemployment situations. And that they are.

A quick Google search shows just how many jobs are available in Missoula. The Montana Labor & Industries Job Board has about 19,000 job openings right now and 1,250 of them are in Missoula.

Nelson says that Montana has recovered quicker than the nation. She wrote:

"Montana’s recovery from the pandemic recession was faster and happened sooner than the nation, which has translated into lower unemployment rates for most of the last two years. However, the national unemployment rate is now at 4.0%, which is considered low, with both Montana and the U.S. adding jobs at a fairly rapid pace in the last half of 2021."

In Montana, there are more job postings than there are people unemployed in the state, with every industry being hit hard by the national Great Resignation.

MTN News spoke to multiple different business managers on the phone across a variety of industries. All of which said they were unable to go on camera because they were short-staffed. This shows just how desperate employers are for employees.