Worker shortage hurts Wisconsin businesses

Worker shortage hurts Wisconsin businesses

Wisconsin is experiencing one of its lowest unemployment rates in the past decade. While that sounds like good news, many businesses are struggling to fill important jobs.

In addition to their famous pies and cakes a “now hiring” sign has become as much of a fixture at Leystra’s restaurant in Sauk City.

“We have had a very short supply of labor,” owner Dick Gillen said.

Leystra’s was typically open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., but began closing at 2 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday back in May. Gillen said that was solely because they only had a staff of about 28 people when they really needed 40.

“We see people coming to the door and wanting to come in and we just don’t have the staff to be able to wait on them,” Gillen said.

As of August the state’s unemployment rate was 3.4 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ask residents in Sauk County and they’ll tell you it’s 2.8 percent in their area.

“We have openings in all areas, whether it’s a line worker or a doctor, it’s just across the board,” Gillen said. “In particular Baraboo has seen some very good growth in the last few years and so with that, unemployment tends to drop.”

Baraboo Mayor Michael Palm said the answer is bringing more people to Sauk County.

“What I would say to folks at home is if you’re looking for a job we’re a good place to live,'” Palm said.

Gillen said Leystra’s is making strides and plans to re-expand their hours, but for now they’ll keep the help wanted sign up.

“Come take a look at the restaurant. It’s a fun place to work,” Gillen said.

The unemployment rate has remained between 3 and 4 percent this year, down from a peak of 9.2 percent in January of 2010.