About half the small businesses in Virginia continue to struggle to find workers amid the national labor shortage, which has contributed to high inflation rates and supply chain problems.
According to a report from the small business website Alignable, Virginia’s numbers are better than the national average, but many industries are still struggling. In the nationwide survey, 63% of small businesses reported difficulty finding qualified staff, which means Virginia’s 50% rate is 13 percentage points better than average.
Virginia also saw an improvement of 11 percentage points from February when 61% of businesses in the commonwealth reported difficulty hiring.
Still, Chuck Casto, the head of corporate communications at Alignable, told The Center Square the problem is more pronounced among restaurants, retailers and beauty salons.
Robert Melvin, the director of government affairs at the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association, told The Center Square hotels and restaurants are still facing significant challenges.
“Our industry is still… taking the brunt of the labor shortages from COVID,” Melvin said.
Melvin said there has been a slight improvement in the labor shortage for those industries, but nothing significant. He said the recovery has been very slow and gradual, primarily because there are not as many applicants. A workforce development program supported by VRLTA would have helped alleviate some of the problems, he said, but it was not included in either the House or the Senate’s final budget proposals.
Some restaurants are still forced to close between one and three times per week because they do not have the staff to remain open for seven days, Melvin added. Some hotels have stopped automatically cleaning hotel rooms daily and may require patrons to request it if they wanted it offered, because they do not have the staff to clean every room every day, he said.
Virginia’s unemployment rate has consistently managed to stay below the national average and currently sits at just 3%. The labor force participation rate is 63.3%.
This article was originally posted on About half of Virginia small businesses still struggling to find workers