West Central Tribune: Rural Minnesota still copes with labor shortage as unemployment rises in pandemic

EXCERPT: “Unemployment rates have risen in rural Minnesota due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they mask a bigger challenge. A decade-long worker shortage continues to persist in many industries in rural Minnesota, according to new research conducted for the Center for Rural Policy and Development by Kelly Asche and Marnie Werner. Asche presented the findings Jan. 21 on a webinar in which he was joined by representatives of workforce centers in the state’s rural regions. Even as the pandemic caused many in the hospitality sector to lose their jobs, demand for workers in sectors such as health care, production, transportation and social services remained higher than the available supply. The job vacancy rate remains above 3 percent in rural Minnesota. That’s lower than the 5 and 6 percent rate measured before the pandemic, but still considered too high by economists.” FULL STORY: https://fluence-media.co/3pk8v9w