If one were to enter virtually any local store, they would find missing inventory of products. There would be a difficulty in sometimes finding an employee to assist you and store hours have changed, in some cases reduced. Large and small chain stores that are normally open 24 hours a day, are now closed overnight.
If one were to drive into Mason City, Forest City, or even Clear Lake, these store operation issues seem to be prevalent. One location in Forest City and along the I-35 corridor in Clear Lake are the only locations seemingly open all day and night.
The effects of the pandemic perhaps? It actually goes much deeper than that.
The area is not seeing nearly as many pandemic cases as it was this time last year. So people are back out shopping and conducting business as usual. The Iowa Business Council Executive Director, Joe Murphy says a couple of issues continue to persist both locally and statewide.
Store managers at local convenience and department stores along with fast food restaurants are saying that their employees are leaving for better paying jobs in manufacturing. This is forcing them to close early for lack of labor help. The labor shortage is also directly linked to the supply chain problem.
Sales expectations fell just lightly as did the employment index. The Iowa Business Council’s third-quarter Economic Outlook Survey found 55% of businesses expect their workforce to grow, and 40% do not anticipate any change in employment. One hundred percent of the businesses in the survey say hiring is somewhat difficult to very difficult.
The third-quarter survey’s overall economic outlook index is nearly 66, with 50 or above being positive.
Murphy says Iowa as a whole, needs to continue working on solutions to the problems or face the possibility of businesses looking to other states.
The Iowa Business Council is made up of of 22 chief executives from Iowa’s largest organizations. The IBC says one in six jobs in Iowa are tied to an Iowa Business Council company.