Whenever I visit a small business around Idaho, I ask them, “What is the greatest challenge you face?”
For years, the most common response was the IRS or burdensome government regulations. Last year, business owners cited the pandemic. Now almost unanimously, the response is, “We cannot find enough people to work.”
This will come as no surprise to anyone in Idaho. You need only walk down the street of any city or town to see “Help Wanted” signs in nearly every shopfront window. In Kellogg, a regional employer is short 50 workers. In Boise, a fast-food chain is down 300 employees and forced to close their doors several days each week. Across the state, businesses — particularly small businesses — are running out of incentives to get employees back.
Employers have increased wages. They’ve offered signing bonuses or “show up on your first day of work” bonuses. But as the owner of a popular diner…