Local Businesses Face Looming Challenge As Holiday Shopping Season Kicks Off

Friday, November 26th 2021, 9:53 pm


Local businesses said they are struggling to hire due to the low unemployment rate and with the holiday season approaching they're experiencing a new challenge with hiring seasonal workers.

Some businesses said the holiday season is their busiest time of year. There's the pressure of shipping items in time for the holidays, restocking and now, making sure they have the staff to do it.

“I've actually been trying to find somebody for this past year. It wasn't working. It has been extremely difficult to hire somebody,” said Rachel Gruntmeier with the Black Scintilla.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said Oklahoma's unemployment rate is 2.7% with more than 100,000 jobs openings.

“To see us progress past pre-pandemic numbers is fantastic, but as you mentioned, businesses are having a hard time filling these positions and that's actually an intrinsic value of a low unemployment. We know historically that more jobs are available during the holiday season, but again, we can't speculate for 2021 because we just don't have that data yet,” Taylor Adams said.

Some businesses have opened seasonal positions. UPS has a goal to hire 1,000 workers and about 150 remain open.

Gruntmeier opened seasonal positions as well, but unfortunately, no positions were filled.

“I thought, or I assumed that opening just for some seasonal positions, I thought that would get some traffic going. You know, college students back in town for the holidays. That didn't really get any traction, either. The only people that have really reached out to apply are some friends saying, 'hey, I can help these hours, these weekends, and help fill in,'” Gruntmeier said.

Gruntmeier and one other person are the only employees at the Black Scintilla.

“It's wearing a lot more hat these days,” Gruntmeier said.

But she said the show must go on.