Springfield, MO

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CVB: Springfield short on hospitality employees

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The Springfield hospitality industry is facing hiring difficulties as travel and spending begin to bounce back from pandemic-forced shutdowns.

The Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau estimates the current workforce at local hotels, restaurants, retailers, attractions and other hospitality businesses is around 19,700. That's down from 22,100 employed in the Springfield hospitality industry in March 2020 but up significantly from a low of 13,100 in April 2020, according to a news release.

“The hiring struggle is real," said Cara Walker Whiteley, president of the Springfield Hotel Lodging Association, in the release. “It is wonderful that business is increasing, but we went from having too many employees a little over a year ago when business was halted because of the pandemic to now where we are in full ramp-up mode and there aren’t enough people working to meet the demand.”

The hiring shortage means existing employees are working extra hours and preforming cross-departmental duties, officials say. It's also resulted in a competitive marketplace for employees among hospitality property owners.

“It’s a fiercely competitive market where hotel employers are offering much higher starting wages than we were prior to COVID," said Whiteley, who also serves as general manager at La Quinta Inn & Suites Airport Plaza, in the release.

Hoteliers reportedly are utilizing sign-on and referral bonuses, as well as flexible schedules, to attract workers. Potential employees interested in available jobs are being encouraged by CVB officials to visit online hiring platforms such as Indeed and Facebook.

The latest unemployment rate in the Springfield metro area was 3.9% in February, a drop from 4.2% in January, according to past reporting.


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