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Commerce Report: CA has more workers than jobs — officials say this is not the case in San Luis Obispo County

Posted at 6:36 PM, Aug 04, 2023

America is facing a worker shortage crisis. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, there are too many open jobs without people to fill them.


According to the data, as of July 2023, there are 9.8 million job openings in the US and only 5.9 million people are unemployed.


The US Chamber of Commerce says that the state of California is having the opposite problem, with the state in the bottom five.


Data show that California has 110 workers per 100 job openings. This means there is more competition for each job opening in the state.


While California has more workers than they know what to do with, the San Luis Obispo County Chamber of Commerce says the county is in need of workers.


“Right now we’re seeing the reverse problem: we're not finding enough people to fill all of the jobs we have,” Jim Dantona, San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce CEO, said.


According to the US Chamber of Commerce, more people are being hired each year but that is not necessarily the case in San Luis Obispo County.


As of right now, San Luis Obispo County's employment rate is 3.5%, according to the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce.


“Our businesses are telling us every day that they could do more if they had more people to do that work,” Dantona said. “Employees looking for jobs are having a pretty good time in SLO to find a job but also to get a wage to help them stay here because there's a lot of competition for that talent."


Monica Iarussi, manager of California Tacos in San Luis Obispo, says finding someone to stick around can be hard.


“Sometimes finding when someone is committed and going to stay, I think that’s been a challenge not just for us, but for others as well,” Iarussi said.


California Tacos opened a little over two years ago and the hiring process is ongoing.


“I think with the kids in school it fluctuates,” Iarussi said.


Dantona says there is a need for employees locally.


“In every sector, whether it be construction, accounting, design, or retail — all of our sectors are actually seeing growth year over year,” Dantona said.


According to the US Chamber of Commerce, the main contributor to the labor shortage in California was the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced more than 100 thousand businesses to close temporarily or permanently and left millions without jobs.


“Our whole state is dependent on tourism so when that got cut off it really changed and there were a lot of job losses during that time,” Dantona said.