Employees Hard To Find for U.S. Companies

December 9, 1999

Employees Hard To Find for U.S. Companies

A shortage of seasonal employees this holiday season only scratches the surface of the recruitment problems employers are experiencing across the U.S., according to the Federal Reserve's new Beige Book.

Wage rates are rising 3% to 10% annually in most areas of the country as businesses struggle to find permanent employees; the most substantial increases were in the Richmond, VA, and Atlanta, GA, districts (including nearby states and cities). One business in North Carolina told the Federal Reserve it is raising wages because "it's getting harder and harder to muster interest in our job listings. Everyone wants to work for a big multinational or a 'tech' start-up." Companies in the Atlanta district said they must hire less-experienced employees, use apprentice-style training, recruit retirees and issue signing bonuses and cash awards to current employees who help recruit new workers.

As the economy continues to show signs of moderate to strong growth and consumer spending picks up across the country, retailers in the Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis and San Francisco districts are having a hard time finding temporary workers to man their stores during the holidays.

The Beige Book is a summary of economic conditions prepared by the Federal Reserve every two months. Read the full report here.

- by Stacey King